Modified: July 21, 2022 9:54am
The Erie County Department of Probation (“the Department”) has been awarded a 2022 Achievement Award by the National Association of Counties (“NACo”) for their Geographically Expanded Release Under Supervision (RUS) program. Designed in anticipation of increased use of RUS by courts following the implementation of Bail Reform in January 2020, the award-winning departmental initiative broadens the footprint of the existing RUS program through collaborations with underutilized local courts, allowing community-based supervision of defendants from after the initial arraignment until the case has been disposed of.
As Bail Reform became imminent, the Department moved proactively to budget for additional staff and began collaborations with courts in larger jurisdictions. Three new Probation Officer positions were created, with two of the officers placed full-time at high volume local courts, to work with the courts to increase collaboration and case volume. Additionally, each officer was given a geographic territory and was tasked with establishing relationships with courts in that territory. With geographically expanded RUS, cases from outside the City of Buffalo went from an average of ten cases per year from 2017-19 to 284 and 269 in 2020 and 2021, respectively. This significant increase in cases also led to a greater percentage of total RUS cases derived from the emphasized geographic expansion areas, as it went from 2-35 between 2017-19 to 54% and 47% in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
“Expansion of the RUS program has fostered our department’s relationships with courts countywide while also expanding pretrial supervision and service to more defendants. Additionally, the program helps to lessen inequities based on geography, as more suburban courts are now participating at higher levels than just a few years ago,” said Commissioner of Probation Michelle Olszowy. “This program is seeing increased success and is supervising more cases while building a stronger system countywide.”
In 2019, a total of just ten cases were received from five different suburban courts while in 2021, a total of 269 cases were received from nineteen distinct suburban, town and village courts.
For more information:
On the National Association of Counties, visit https://www.naco.org/
On the Department of Probation, visit https://www2.erie.gov/probation/
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