Adult Probation Services is responsible to the Court for investigating and supervising offenders and alleged offenders. Eighty-five (85) staff in the Pretrial, Presentence Investigation, Standard Probation, Sex Offender, Domestic Violence, DUI, Intensive Probation (IPS), Surveillance, Drug and Mental Health Court, Gender Specific, Public Service, and Support units provide these services.
Written investigative reports are provided to the Court at the pretrial stage, sentencing stage, and during supervision. These reports include complete background checks on individuals and are used by judges to make appropriate bond and sentencing decisions. If an offender is sentenced to pretrial or probation supervision, the conditions imposed by the Court are monitored by probation officers and include office visits, home and work contacts, facilitation of treatment, urinalysis testing, public service work, and criminal record checks. Other types of interventions unique to an offender’s circumstance, such as monitoring the computers of sex offenders, are also offered.
Every effort is made to help offenders change their behavior so they will not continue to break the law. If these efforts fail, violators are referred back to court for punitive action that could include jail or prison time.
Quick Look at the Adult Probation Services Division
There are currently 85 dedicated employees who make up the Division of Adult Probation Services. The organization is made up of a Division Director, small administrative staff and nine main units: DUI, Domestic Violence, Intensive Probation, Public Service, Pretrial, Presentence Investigations, Standard Probation, Sex Offender and Surveillance Units. In addition, specialized services and programs such as the COG, Early Termination, Gender-Specific caseloads, Group Reporting, Therapeutic Intensive Monitoring Court, and the Volunteer Probation Support Program are also important functions of the Division.
Annually, the Division does hundreds of bond and sentencing reports for the court and supervises about 2,700 cases awaiting trial and approximately 5,500 active and inactive cases on probation. Additionally, over 360,000 public service work hours are processed. Close to one and a half million dollars is paid out to victims of crime by probationers.
Adult Pretrial Unit
The Adult Pretrial staff interviews defendants in custody and provides the Court with verified information that assists the Court in determining the type of bond, bond conditions to be imposed, and bond release decisions. Pretrial Officers perform home visits and curfew calls, as well as surveillance of defendants during the evening hours, weekends, and holidays.
Adult Probation Supervision Unit
Adult Probation Officers maintain responsibility for the day to day supervision and community surveillance of all adults who have been sentenced to probation by the Court. When an offender is placed on probation, Adult Probation Officers are responsible for referring these individuals to agencies, which provide the services necessary to address the problems relating to their criminality. "Brokering" probationers to community service agencies is a fundamental casework tool in redirecting an offender's antisocial behavior.
Adult Probation utilizes "Evidence Based Practices" to provide the best assessments and interventions that will lead to reduced recidivism.
Adult Public Services Unit
Public service work as restitution for offenses is often ordered by the Court for both probationers and non-probationers. Restitution is used as a punitive sanction to make offenders pay back to the communities. A number of nonprofit sites throughout the community are used.
Domestic Violence Probation Unit
Four probation officers supervise domestic violence caseloads and work daily with the Probation Field Supervision Unit to closely monitor these high risk cases. Probation strategies, including surveillance, allow the probation officer to enforce the court orders and orders of protection. The Probation Field Supervision Unit regularly checks after hours with the defendant and victims to ensure compliance and the family’s safety. Probation officers coordinate with domestic violence treatment programs and contact victims, spouses, and significant others to ensure that appropriate resources are provided.
Intensive Probation Unit
The Intensive Probation unit consists of selected officers who closely supervise felony offenders whom the court would most likely send to prison if it were not for this program. Office visits, referrals to community resources and surveillance in the community are emphasized. Probationers who successfully complete the one year IPS program are than placed under regular probation supervision for the remainder of their sentence.
Presentence Investigation Unit
The Presentence Investigation Unit was created in response to Illinois Statutes requiring the preparation of offender background reports for the judiciary prior to a sentence being imposed. The reports include: (1) investigation of the offender’s criminal history, including previous terms of community supervision or incarceration, past or present gang involvement, and history of violence and use of weapons; (2) the offender’s personal information, including family of origin, current residence and family relations, educational and employment histories, financial situation, and military history; and (3) the offender’s health information, including physical health, mental health, drug and/or alcohol addiction histories, and any previous treatment history. The officers analyze the data they have collected and make specific recommendations as to the potential for rehabilitation, risk to the community, and sentencing options available to the Courts.
Probation Field Supervision Unit (PFSU)
In keeping with the Circuit’s move toward the evidence-based practice to focus resources on the highest risk offenders, the Probation Field Supervision Unit (PFSU) began formal operations in July of 2005. This unit provides evening, weekend, and holiday unannounced visits in the community to continuously monitor risk factors. The target offenders are sex offenders, domestic battery offenders, high risk DUI offenders, Intensive Probation cases, repeat property offenders, gang members, and others who perpetrate a disproportionate number of criminal offenses. The unit was organized from existing surveillance officers who were cross trained in relapse prevention. The officers perform duties which include home and employment visits, random urinalysis, monitoring of attendance at evening treatment sessions, compliance with no contact provisions of their court order, and general surveillance duties.
Sex Offender Unit
This specialized supervision unit was created in 1995 to enhance the supervision strategies for convicted sex offenders sentenced to treatment and probation. The unit is comprised of five specialized probation officers who monitor all offenders convicted of sex related offenses. This program involves close monitoring of the offender’s employment and living arrangements, as well as their participation in sex offender treatment. The officers also assess and implement new laws and monitor the probationer’s compliance with payment of fines, fees, and restitution to the victims. Finally, the officers ensure compliance with all court orders, including no contact orders protecting victims and potential victims, as well as any other special conditions that are ordered by the court.
Specialized DUI Unit
The Specialized DUI Unit began in 1986 with a grant from the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. This program not only identifies and monitors offenders, but offers intervention techniques and treatment referrals. A case can be assigned to a specialized officer based on an offender’s prior arrest history and the results of an evaluation by a licensed agent or agency, with violators being promptly referred back to the Court. High risk DUI cases are also referred to Probation Field Supervision Unit to closely monitor sobriety and compliance with court orders. Nine (9) probation officers supervise DUI offenders at this time.
Therapeutic Intensive Monitoring (TIM) Unit
The new TIM unit consists of a principal probation officer that serves as the TIM Court Coordinator. The coordinator prepares weekly agendas, chairs Mental Health and Drug Court staffings, and supervises all clients of Drug Court and the Post-Plea clients of Mental Health Court. Additionally, one Pretrial officer is dedicated to the supervision of clients placed on the Pre-Plea component of Mental Health court. Members of the PFSU augment supervision in the community of both courts.
- Our new facility is located at 215 W Water Street in Waukegan, IL
- Pretrial Services are located at 20 S County Street off of the Jail Visitors Entrance.
- North Branch Court Multi-Purpose Room at 1792 Nicole Lane, Round Lake Beach, IL
- Park City Branch Court Multi-Purpose Room at 301 S Greenleaf Avenue, Park City, IL
- We also utilize offices in the Lake Zurich and Vernon Hills Police Departments and at the College of Lake County’s Grayslake and Downtown Waukegan campuses.
Our Innovative Program and Services
Cognitive Outreach Groups (COG) Program
Since January 2002, the Lake County Adult Probation Department has been offering Cognitive Outreach Groups (COG), which is firmly based on the National Institute of Corrections “Thinking for a Change” Program. The goals of the program are to increase the number of clients who successfully complete probation, reduce recidivism, and improve clients’ abilities to take control of their thoughts, behaviors, and lives.
The concept of the program is based on the belief that our thinking controls our behavior. By taking control of our thinking we take control of our lives. The three main components of the COG Program are Social Skills, Cognitive Self-Change, and Problem Solving. Groups are interactive and meet once a week for a total of 20 lessons. The curriculum requires members to share personal experiences, provide feedback, and to participate in role-playing exercises. The clients can receive credit for Public Service hours if they successfully complete the program. Clients may be court-ordered to participate in the program or referred to the program by their supervising probation officers, either to increase the client’s likelihood of success while on probation or as an administrative sanction.
Early Termination Program
The program proactively reduces the amount of cases on probation caseloads by terminating non-violent, compliant offenders from their sentences early. Eligible offenders have been identified as minimum, low risk offenders who have completed all conditions of their court orders and supervision. Early termination allows the Probation Division and other departments of the Lake County court system to strategically place more resources and time into supervising higher risk offenders in the Lake County community, who require more supervision and are a larger threat to public safety. This procedure has also resulted in a reward structure for probationers who comply with their conditions.
Gender Specific Caseloads
The Community-Based Transitional Services for Female Offenders Program began in October of 2003 with pass-through grant funding through the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. The goals of the program are to provide psycho-educational services for adult female offenders, to address prior issues of trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, and to provide a two month aftercare component to increase participants’ usage of treatment resources. The grant program represents a joint effort by the Adult Probation Division and the Psychological Services Division to help women with gender-specific circumstances, such as sexual abuse, assaults, and domestic abuse.
Group Reporting Program
Some offenders on probation are determined to be of low risk to the community and less likely to re-offend. It is this population that meets the specific criteria from the General Field Unit and DUI Unit that allows supervision through the Group Reporting format. Group Reporting is facilitated in collaboration with the College of Lake County.
This project is designed to allow large groups of probationers to report to various sites where presentations are given and reporting forms are collected. The project provides low-risk offenders an opportunity to receive educational information and information on resources that can benefit them. Some topics that may be addressed at Group Reporting include financial management, substance abuse, domestic violence, and anger/stress management. Additionally, with the assistance of several trained community volunteers, there is an opportunity for “one on one” interaction. Probationers that are compliant and complete their conditions of probation may be eligible for early termination of probation.
Therapeutic Intensive Monitoring (TIM) Court
In July 2005, the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit established the Drug Court component of the Therapeutic Intensive Monitoring (TIM) Court and, in January 2007, Mental Health Court was started. The mission of the TIM Program is to reduce crime, enhance public safety, and reduce jail populations by rehabilitating drug addicts and mentally ill offenders whose mental illness is the primary reason for their criminality. The mission is accomplished through a comprehensive and intensive therapeutic program. Each component of TIM Court has an established multidisciplinary team consisting of treatment professionals, probation officials, judges, assistant state’s attorneys, and assistant public defenders. Depending on the phase of the program, a defendant can be required to report to court up to once per week. The services provided are extensive and incrementally reduced as the client stabilizes and progresses through the program. Before termination from the program, a long-term aftercare plan is developed to assist the defendant in maintaining a crime-free lifestyle for the remainder of the defendant’s life.
The current target population for Drug Court includes offenders who reside in Lake County, are before the court on a class 2, 3, or 4 non-violent felony charge, and are deemed drug dependent but amenable for treatment. For Mental Health Court, eligibility is dependant on Axis I mental illness diagnosis that is primary to the defendant’s criminal conduct, consent of the victim, non-violent history, legal residency, and amenability for treatment. Referral sources include defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, police, probation officers, and the Lake County Health Department.
Volunteer Probation Support Program
The Nineteenth Judicial Circuit has partnered with the College of Lake County to provide coordination for both Adult and Juvenile Probation Services. Through the Probation Service’s successful Group Reporting project, volunteers meet with probationers in a group setting at the Grayslake, Vernon Hills, and Waukegan campuses, as well as North Branch Court facilities and the Zion Police Department. The College recruits, trains, and coordinates the volunteer assignments. The reporting sessions include volunteers meeting individually with their assigned probationer to check compliance status. There may be a speaker arranged for the sessions discussing life skills, educational resources, or other related topics. The unique part of this process is the combination of the community volunteers and the educational component. Two units of Adult Probation Services currently utilize this program – the PFSU and the DUI Units.