Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Crisis in South Carolina Probation Office

The Federal Times has an article up on budget woes for South Carolina's probation office. Here is a taste:

Patrick Culbertson, the chief probation officer for the U.S. District Court of South Carolina, says his employees keep an eye on some shady characters--convicted sex offenders, thieves, drug offenders.

When they are released from federal prison, it's up to Culbertson and his staff of 134 to keep them from slipping back to their criminal ways.

His biggest hurdle is not the cat-and-mouse evasion tactics of those he’s duty-bound to watch over, but rather his office’s budget. Culbertson has lost 23 employees--including six probation officers--in the last two years, and he doesn't have money in the budget to replace them. So his remaining 87 officers and other support staff must make hard choices over whom they watch. They ultimately prioritize their time to focus on pedophiles and others they believe are more dangerous to the public. Those they deem lower risks get less or no attention.

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