Kristina Thompson, chief deputy of the Sacramento Probation Department, offers her insight into the changes in her department. For more from Thompson, check out “Wonder Women” in our March issue. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll email you when it’s available online.
What’s been the biggest change in the local probation department over the past year?
Our department has seen a massive amount of retirements over the past year. These retirements have created numerous promotional opportunities for our officers. These retirements have also caused us to lose years of experience and knowledge that we relied on to build the next group of leaders. I believe that leadership is required at all levels in an organization. A strong organization develops its leaders, and our responsibility is to groom those future leaders through mentoring and coaching.
What do you foresee as the biggest change on the horizon in the year to come?
Individualized supervision and treatment plans for our offenders. Past practice was that all offenders generally received the same type of supervision based on their risk level [of reoffending], and our past assessment tools did not assess an offenders’ treatment needs.
We now have better assessment tools that allow us to address our offenders’ needs … our new assessment tool will now identify a person’s risk level and identify their criminogenic needs. An individualized supervision plan will then be developed for each offender based on their unique risk and needs. These tools help us provide more individualized treatment based on those needs, so we can connect them to services in the community. Our goal is to help offenders get the education or vocational training they need to get a job, so they can take care of themselves or their families and become productive tax-paying citizens.
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