Seventeenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois
Boone County Probation Department
The mission of the Boone County Probation Department is to provide the Court with a system of quality programs which are responsive to constitutional and statutory requirements that reflect judicial priorities and community needs which focus on the restoration of the offender to productive citizenship without compromising the safety of the community. The Probation and Probation Officer Act, 730 ILCS 110/5, provides the legal authority and statutory requirements for the department.
The mission of Pretrial Services is to promote pretrial justice while enhancing community safety and maximizing court appearances using evidence-based practices. In all cases in which a client is in custody and charged with a qualifying criminal offense, a bond report about the client's background and current circumstances shall be conducted by Pretrial Services prior to the client's first appearance in Court in order to provide information relevant to decisions concerning pretrial release that will be made by the presiding Judge at the first appearance.
In 2020, 260 Bond Reports were completed. Additionally, the officer monitors cases for which clients are placed on a Condition of Bond Order. The purpose of pretrial monitoring is to increase public safety, maximize court appearances and maximize release from custody. In 2020, the Probation Department monitored an average of 108 Felony and 19 Misdemeanor defendants a month on a Condition of Bond Order.
After a client has pled guilty, and the parties cannot reach a sentencing agreement, or has been found guilty after trial to a felony charge, the Probation Department is required by law to provide to the Judge a presentence investigation report (PSI). In a nutshell, this is a biography about the client and it is used at the sentencing hearing by the Judge to determine the appropriate sentence. In 2020, the Probation Department completed 45 PSI reports; in 2019, 38 reports were completed. This duty is a requirement, and there is not much policy or personnel decisions that can be made to lower the amount of money dedicated to this function.
Depending on the sentence, the Probation Department has certain obligations. If the person is not sentenced to prison, they will likely be placed on probation and monitored by the department. The officer performs an assessment and those clients who are more likely to re-offend should receive more attention, and those less likely to re-offend receive less. Officers use skills such as motivational interviewing and Core Correctional Practice (CCP) to generate a more positive outcome for individuals. Officers are trained to incorporate in their contacts with clients the key CCP's tools to include quality interpersonal relationships, effective use of authority, pro-social modeling and reinforcement, problem-solving and use of community resources. Research has indicated that incorporating aspects of the CCP's in institutional and community-based supervision can impact offender's behavior and consequently public safety. CCP is an evidence-based approach that can improve the therapeutic potential of rehabilitation. CCP can reduce recidivism by teaching individuals how to engage in long term prosocial behavior and promote an increase of the effectiveness of treatment interventions. Currently there are over 300 probationers being monitored by five officers.
Adult Probation Officers monitor individuals placed on a court order, which include Probation orders, Conditional Discharge orders and Court Supervision orders, using a multi-faceted approach. Supervision consists of regular in-office appointments, residency verification, employment verification, referrals to and networking with community resources and possible referral back to court should the individual not comply with the expectations of their court order. Officers utilize the Adult Risk Assessment (ARA) in determining one's level of supervision and identifying strengths and weaknesses to focus on during their term of Probation. In addition, the Officers will provide regular updates to the court regarding compliance and testify in court when necessary. The goal of Probation is to empower individuals to act and react in a responsible manner utilizing evidence-based practices that have shown to be successful in effectuating positive behavioral changes.
Juvenile Probation Officers monitor criminally charged minors who are given court orders allowing them to remain in the community. The juveniles are supervised through contacts with the parents, school and community resources in an attempt to hold juveniles and their families accountable for the court ordered conditions. Officers utilize the Juvenile Risk Assessment (JRA) to determine the minor's level of supervision as well as strengths and weaknesses to focus on while during their term of Probation.
Juvenile Probation Officers also complete Social History Investigations, which provide the court with detailed background information on the juvenile and family, and make recommendations for rehabilitation.
The Juvenile Probation Department offers a diversion program for criminally arrested juveniles, in an attempt to divert the juveniles from the court system. Each juvenile’s case is assessed independently to determine what course of action is in the community’s and minor’s best interest.
Drug Court ProbationIn 2013 Drug Court was created in Boone County. The mission of Boone County Drug Court is to promote public safety, reduces recidivism and enhances the quality of life for the community and the individual by helping substance dependent persons in the criminal justice system achieve and maintain recovery through expedited and enhanced access to a continuum of treatment and support services while under intensive court supervision. Drug Court is a program that works with high risk/high needs clients who have been convicted of a non-violent felony and have a diagnosis of a substance abuse disorder. The program is funded by the State of Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Adult Redeploy Illinois. The goal of the program is to divert 25% of individuals who would have been incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections, by safely providing intense supervision in the community, which offers cost savings to our community and state. According to the Illinois Department of Corrections Financial Impact Statement, "the cost of incarcerating an individual in the Department facility during Fiscal Year 2020 was $34,362.00." The cost per person of individuals diverted through Boone County Drug Court for State Fiscal Year 2020 was $5,886.00.
Drug Court is one attempt to curb the problem of recidivism. Simply sending people to prison does not assure that a person will not reoffend in the future. Instead, Drug Court (as run in our county) is a hybrid between sentencing and post-sentencing. If a client is successful in drug court, they do not go to prison; if unsuccessful, they are sentenced to prison. Drug Court requires frequent contact with the probation officer, drug testing and court appearances in front of the Judge. The data shows the extensive contact in Drug Courts reduces the likelihood the defendant will reoffend. For information on how to make a referral to the Drug Court Program, please contact the Court Coordinator at 815-544-9806.