As the oldest and largest alternative to incarceration, probation provides quality services that assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens and productive members of society. Probation permits offenders to live and work in the community, support their families, receive rehabilitative services and make restitution to victims. It is one of the most cost efficient sanctions in the criminal justice system.
In Erie County, the Probation Department employs approximately 150 staff and is divided into two components – the Juvenile and the Adult division. The Juvenile division administers diversionary programs for both PINS (Persons In Need of Supervision) and JD (Juvenile Delinquent) youth, prepares pre-dispositional investigations for Family Court and supervises juveniles placed on probation supervision.
In the Adult division, probation officers prepare pre-sentence investigations for the criminal courts throughout Erie County and supervise adults placed on probation supervision. In the Adult division, general caseloads are augmented by several specialized caseloads. The department has several caseloads, many geographically sensitive, to supervise felony DWI offenders. A Sex Offender unit oversees defendants who are sentenced to probation as registered offenders. Domestic violence is a serious community and family issue and a specific unit works with the complexities of these offenders. GIVE (Gun Involved Violence Elimination) is a grant sponsored program which allows probation officers to work more closely with young adults convicted of weapons charges. The High Risk specialty caseloads provide probation services to offenders who would likely face incarceration but are sentenced to community correction.
In addition, the Erie County Probation Department oversees a number of Alternative to Incarceration programs. The Release Under Supervision (RUS) program saves taxpayers the costs of detaining offenders in the county holding center while their court matter is pending disposition. The Probation Department also operates Community Service Sentencing and Pretrial Services. These are proven programs that save the community resources and allow offenders to remain employed and with their families.
The Erie County Probation Department is located at One Niagara Plaza in downtown Buffalo, New York. However, our department’s probation officers routinely supervise offenders via community-based report sites, home visits, school-based meetings and collateral contacts with service providers. The Erie County Probation Department has a dedicated, well trained staff to professionally deliver services to victims, the community and offenders.