Positive and healthy relationships thrive with mutual respect,
honesty and diligence. The relationship between probationer and officer should be a collaborative effort to restore
the probationer to the dignity of a law-abiding citizen.
Goals of Probation
- Rehabilitating the offender through an individualized program so that he or she may make a seamless transition
back into the community;
- Protecting the community from habitual criminal offenders by supervising offenders and enforcing conditions of
- Providing accurate and relevant information to the court, law enforcement officers and to the judge so that the
justice system remains effective.
Rehabilitation of the probationer will not be possible unless the offender assumes responsibility for his or her
criminal conduct and determines to successfully complete the probation program as outlined by the officer.
It is the policy of this Court to match the probationer with his or her officer, according to their area of
expertise. At the initial meeting between officer and probationer, a probation intake interview will be
performed. This meeting is an opportunity for the officer to review the facts of the case and compare or contrast
them to the probationerís recollection of the events. Honesty is essential during this initial interview, and the
officer will note things that may have been contributing factors to the commission of the crime. Some of these
factors become key components to planning and implementing an effective program of supervision. Some of these
factors may include:
After the initial interview, the officer will determine what programs, counseling or classes are appropriate for
the probationerís rehabilitation.
- circumstances of the offense
- victim statements
- statements of the law enforcement officer
- written statements from the offender
- any evidence of alcohol or drug abuse
- any indication of mental health issues
- the offenderís criminal background
- offender's education
- offender's employment status
Probationers are referred by the Court for presentence investigations when more information is needed by the Court to
determine appropriate criminal punishment. The probationer may be required to begin some of these services before actual
sentence is imposed by the Court. The probation officer may determine after the presentence investigation that the crime
deserves incarceration and will recommend jail time to the judge. Only the judge has the authority to sentence an
individual to incarceration. The probationer is welcome to have an attorney to represent him during the sentencing
hearing. During the hearing, the judge will likely ask the probation officer to recount pertinent facts from the officer's
investigation. The judge will ask the probationer a few questions and ask the probationer if he or she has anything to
say before sentence is pronounced. After that, the judge will impose the sentence which may include jail time or a set of
conditions that must be met in lieu of incarceration or both. Ohio law provides that probation can last up to five years
for criminal misdemeanor violations.
If the offender is placed on probation by the Court, he or she will likely continue to work with the same officer
during the probationerís period of supervision. The Court may refer the probationer to work with a different
officer if the probationer thinks there is a conflict between the two that would inhibit a working relationship.
The probation conditions are really a contract between the officer and the probationer; all requirements of
supervision will be outlined and explained by the probation officer. To eliminate any confusion, the probationer
will sign and date a copy of the probation contract and retain a copy for himself. Depending upon the type of
supervision program for the offender, he or she may be required to report in-person or via telephone on a regular
basis. This is entirely the discretion of the probation officer.
As an officer of the court, any tips regarding the probationerís illegal activity will be investigated if the
officer thinks the tip is credible. This may include a house check of the probationerís residence. Ohio law
provides that a probation officer may check on and enter the home of a probationer with or without the probationer's
permission. The probation officer does not need a warrant to conduct a house check of a probationer. This will
be made clear in the probation contract. Probationers are not permitted to possess firearms or deadly weapons
nor consume alcohol or drugs of abuse while on probation unless specifically authorized by the Court. An officer
may request a probationer to submit to a random drug screen and probationers are not permitted to refuse this
request by the officer or any other law enforcement officer. In addition, some probationers will be placed on
curfew or restricted from certain residences, places of business or restricted from socializing with certain
Those probationers who have longer criminal histories, convictions of violent crime or histories of drug-related
crimes may be transferred to intensive supervised probation. Intensive Supervised Probation (or ISP) is a
specialized type of probation that requires frequent reporting requirements, drug screens and house checks. Those
individuals placed on ISP are considered a higher risk for recidivism and present a greater risk of harm to the
Sometimes the criminal offense involved damage to real or personal property so that restitution will likely be
ordered for the victim. Restitution is a process whereby the offender is required to pay monetary damages to the
victim. If restitution is not ordered or the victim believes that the restitution ordered was inadequate, the
victim is welcome to use civil avenues of recovery such as small claims court.
If counseling sessions are ordered by the probation department, the officer will check to ensure compliance by the
probationer. The social service agencies in Knox County closely collaborate with the probation department and
information is shared, when appropriate, and when the agency is authorized to release the information to the
probation officer. Since the primary goal of probation is the rehabilitation of the offender and protection of
the community, honesty and transparency in all aspects of the supervision program are essential.
Violation of the Probation Contract
Ohio law provides that a probation officer may make a warrantless arrest of a probationer who is discovered
breaking probation conditions or breaking the law. A probationer who is arrested will be held in jail on a
probation violation holder for up to five business days, but that time may be extended by the judge. It is the
discretion of the probation officer whether to file a probation violation against a probationer or when to release
the probationer from jail. If a probation violation is filed with the Court, the Court will promptly hold a
probable cause hearing to explain the violation. The probationer will then be asked to enter a plea of either
guilty (admitting) or not guilty (denying) to each violation. A not guilty plea by a probationer will result in a
full hearing at a later date to determine whether or not the probationer committed a violation. Bond will be set
by the Court so that the probationer may be released pending the full hearing. A probationer is welcome to hire
counsel for this full hearing, and counsel may be appointed at public expense if the probationer is indigent. If
the probationer pleads guilty, the Court will ensure the probationer understands his constitutional rights and
intelligently waives them.
Regardless of the plea, the probationer may be permitted to continue his program of probation, but the probationer
may also be scheduled for a revocation hearing. A probation revocation hearing is held so that the probationer has
an opportunity to answer the charges against him, cross-examine witnesses for the probation officer and testify
himself. The judge will determine whether to revoke or continue probation. If probation is revoked, the Court
will sentence the offender to pay a fine and to serve any suspended jail time from the original criminal charge.