Probation & Parole ensuring area’s safety

Upcoming fishing rodeos
July 9, 2007
Ray Fonseca
July 11, 2007

Dear Editor,

Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week will be observed nationally from July 15 -21.

For more than 100 years, probation and parole officers have been supervising offenders to make our communities a safer place to live. These professional men and women dedicate their lives to serving crime victims and holding offenders accountable for the wrong they have committed against our families, friends and communities.

In Louisiana, there are approximately 62,000 offenders under either probation or parole supervision. With 500 officers statewide, each officer supervises a caseload of 120 offenders on average, way above the southern regional caseload average of 80 offenders.

The Thibodaux District Office supervises 3,400 convicted felons with 26 field officers. The Thibodaux District consists of Lafourche, St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes.

The challenges officers face are tremendous, yet they continue to make a difference. They make a difference through monitoring and enforcing sanctions as well as providing treatment, developing partnerships with other agencies and community groups, and by assisting offenders in their efforts towards leading a law-abiding life.

Probation & Parole officers in Louisiana have a college degree and are P.O.S.T.-certified. They are professionals who constantly acquire knowledge of what motivates offenders and apply that knowledge in the most effective way possible.

Their work has become multi-faceted and goes well beyond supervision and surveillance of offenders. It has expanded to include working with victims to ensure that restorative justice principles are addressed. More often than not, officers find themselves in the role of counselors or job placement coordinators, trying to secure those services that many offenders need in order to successfully transition back into their communities and stay out of prison.

All of this is done in an effort to ensure the highest level of public safety.

The atmosphere in which these officers work has becoming increasingly more violent. The rise in the number of offenders under supervision, the impact of drugs, the availability and use of weapons, and the increase in violent behavior all contribute to the danger these officers face each day. It is through their commitment to public safety that our communities are a safer place for our families.

Farrel Veillion,

District Administrator, Department of Correction, Division of Probation and Parole