Adult Probation Frequently Asked Questions

What Does It Mean To Be "On Probation"?

After an offender is convicted of committing a crime, the court can suspend the sentence and place the offender under the supervision of a probation officer, or place the offender in a local jail or correctional institution, followed by a period of probation supervision. While on probation, offenders must obey all laws and follow the specific orders issued by the court.

What is the difference between probation, parole, post release community supervision, and mandatory supervision?

Probation is a condition of an offender's original court sentence by a judge. An offender may be sentenced to probation only and be required to follow any number of specific stipulations as outlined in the court order. An offender may be sentenced to jail time as a term of probation and also be required to fulfill specific stipulations demanded by the court, including regular reporting to a probation officer.

Parole is a condition of release for someone coming out of a prison. There are usually a number of restrictions placed on a parolee and he/she is supervised by a parole officer (either state or federal, depending on the type of prison).

The Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 established a new type of community supervision known as post release community supervision (PRCS). Persons who were sentenced to state prison for non-violent, non-serious, or non-sexual crimes are released on PRCS and supervised by the probation department.

The Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 also created mandatory supervision, which is the portion of a jail sentence served in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. It is similar to traditional probation, but every day served on mandatory supervision is deducted from the original sentence.

What does the Probation Department do to protect the community from adult offenders?

When an adult is found to be guilty of a felony, the probation officer may be ordered to file a report with the court. It will include detailed information about the crime, losses to victims, background of the offender, and sentencing recommendations. Some offenders may be granted the privilege of probation and be supervised by probation officers. Other offenders come back to the Probation Department from State Prison on Post Release Community Supervision.

Probation Officers target each offenderís criminogenic needs (those factors that research has shown affect recidivism)

The probationer's compliance or noncompliance will be reported to the court. The frequency and method of probation officer contact with probationers depends on the seriousness of the offender's criminal history and the associated threat the offender poses to the community.


What does the Probation Department do to help offenders with alcohol and drug problems?

The Probation Department, in conjunction with public and private providers, offers intensive alcohol and drug treatment to adults sentenced to such programs. They include community based meetings, group counseling, residential drug treatment programs, and urinalysis. Those who fail to participate may be returned to court for alternative sentences, including jail or prison.


Can I vote if I have a criminal conviction?

You can vote if you meet the following criteria:
A citizen of the United States of America;
A resident of California;
At least 18 years of age or older on or before election day;
Not in prison, on parole, serving a state prison sentence in county jail, serving a sentence for a felony pursuant to subdivision (h) of Penal Code section 1170, on Mandatory Supervision, or on post release community supervision; and
Not found mentally incompetent by a court of law.
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