Probation: 2606 total cases, only 10 officers
Both the Office of Adult Probation and the Board of Parole in yesterday’s annual presentation to the Legislature highlighted the large parity between probation officers and parole officers to cases assigned to them.
In a presentation, both chief probation officer Ursula Aldan and chief parole officer Nick Reyes highlighted the high parity between cases handled to the number of officers in each respective division.
According to statistics offered by Aldan, the Probation office handles 1,400 active cases on probation; 1,100 cases pending review; and a total of 2,606 cases divided between 10 probation officers.
For the Parole, Reyes noted that there are currently 27 cases of parolees in the CNMI with only three parole officers handling them. Reyes also noted that this coming October, he expects the number increase to about 35 cases.
Both Aldan and Reyes noted the obvious during their presentation: The need for additional manpower. Aldan noted in an interview with Saipan Tribune that local statute does not call for a specific ratio to be held for the probation office, unlike the U.S. mainland.
“…In some states, it specifies [a ratio] per officer. We don’t have that here,” she said.
“We’ve always asked for more [full-time employees],” she said, adding that she is aware that the House in the fiscal year 2019 budget bill gave the Probation office eight additional FTE’s for the fiscal year.
The Senate has yet to act on the fiscal year 2019 budget bill.
Reyes in a separate interview with Saipan Tribune noted that parolees have committed crimes that vary. Reyes noted that there are drug-related crimes, violent crimes, child molestation, and more.
“We have all kinds of charges that are out on the streets. We are still lacking staff, but we try to put our staff out there, day or night. If an individual falls on the intensive watch, then I try to put my staff on intensive watch on those individuals,” Reyes said.
In a statement, House Speaker Rafael S. Demapan (R-Saipan) noted that the annual presentation was both enlightening and appreciated.
“We continue to appreciate and acknowledge their work in making sure that restoring [public] trust and creating hope in the community is foremost. We continue to dialogue with them to find ways on how to assist them [through funding] and in the work they do,” Demapan told Saipan Tribune.