N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--September 1997

Back to School

It’s back to school for probation officers. About 60 officers from Division Three met in Winston-Salem August 13 to share ideas and report on the success of the education initiative, working with educators to help young probationers graduate.

"We're having success. Students are staying in school and getting their education," said Pam Clement, a probation officer in Surry County. "I had six students graduate last year and three are going on to college."

Officers talked about methods of encouraging the young people to fill their time with sports and school-related programs and to avoid absenteeism, unruly behavior and associating with peers who may steer them towards trouble.

"You're trying to get them to complete their education. Usually, these youth have had problems with attendance and following rules. They're on the verge of flunking or dropping out," said Mike Davis, a probation officer in Union County. "We want them to complete school."

Communication is an important part of the officer's involvement. Officers can provide school officials with factual information about the court's action in a case and advise on ways to comply with the court's orders.

Officers work with judges to hold the young probationers accountable for their actions. In Rowan County, a judge has issued probation orders requiring eight hours of community service work for every unexcused school absence or day missed because of suspension from school. Officers can also ask judges for curfews or electronic house arrest supervision.

Several counties are just beginning the program. All Division Three counties will take part in the program this year.

The probation officer in the schools program began in Carteret County in 1993. Since its inception, the program has spread statewide building partnerships between probation officers and educators.

NC DOC Correction News- September 1997
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