Express News Staff
LAKE PLEASANT - An important, though not obvious, part of the criminal justice system in Hamilton County is the Probation Department, where offenders are monitored after serving time or in place of serving time.
The department also works to keep people out of the criminal justice system.
Probation Director Amy Taylor provided an update on her department's activities when the county Board of Supervisors met Thursday, April 4.
Taylor said she and her assistant, Probation Officer John Boya, are currently supervising 29 probationers. Fourteen committed misdemeanors; 10 committed felonies, including three registered sex offenders; four are PINS diversion cases; and one is a PINS case.
A Persons In Need of Supervision case is when a county judge orders a minor into that program. The PINS Diversion program is when the Probation Department places a person in the program.
The PINS Diversion Program is family support that includes a formal assessment, in-home counseling, case management, respite and mentoring for at-risk youth. The goal of this program is to prevent youth referred on a PINS petition from being placed outside the home.
VICTIM IMPACT PANEL
Something new has been put in place by the department to help curb driving while intoxicated and reduce the number of victims from DWI.
Taylor said her department has organized and sponsored a Victim Impact Panel in Hamilton County to be held twice a year, one in Indian Lake in October and one in Wells in May.
Taylor said the next VIP would be Wednesday, May 1, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Wells Community Hall.
During these panels one or more victims of an accident caused by a DWI driver speak of their experience and the damage it has done to their lives. The victim could be someone who was physically hurt as a result of a DWI driver or a relative of someone who was hurt.
Taylor said, "Everyone is welcome to attend; however, if you are court-mandated to attend because of a DWI conviction there is a $25 fee for a first-time DWI offender, $50 for a second conviction and $100 for three or more convictions."
All proceeds (donations are welcome) go to the STOP DWI program in Hamilton County.
For more information call Taylor at (518) 648-5040.
A BUSY SCHEDULE
Taylor concluded her report by mentioning her and Boya's schedules include many things in addition to monitoring those on probation, such as ongoing training and numerous meetings including with the county Magistrates Association, Youth Board, Victim Impact Panel, Mental Health Subcommittee, Alcohol & Substance Abuse Subcommittee, Coordinated Children's Services Initiative and others, as well as appearances in county and town courts and visits to the local schools.
They also conduct pre-sentencing investigations for the courts.