The Star’s editorial on the Alabama probation system was well written and right on the point. One statement made that was incorrect was probation and parole officers are employed by the prison system. Probation and parole officers are not employees of the prison system or Department of Corrections. They are employed by the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
Officers supervise individuals granted parole by the Parole Board and released by the Department of Corrections. Officers also supervise individuals placed on probation by the courts. The local probation and parole office for this area is in Anniston and covers all of Calhoun and Cleburne counties. The editorial stated on average an officer is responsible for supervising 193 offenders and the nationally recommended average is 60 to 75 cases. Currently, the Anniston office supervises 1,238 offenders in the two-county area. Those offenders are supervised by six officers averaging 206 offenders per officer. At one time, the Anniston office had 10 officers with average case loads of 120.
Even in the days of being fully staffed, Alabama has had high offender-to-officer ratios. I agree that this issue needs to be addressed. With that said, as the district manager for this area, I can assure you that the officers assigned to the Anniston office as well as this district and around the state are dedicated professionals who are committed and do their best — to stay on top of supervising all offenders whether it be sex offenders, violent offenders, illegal drug manufacturers, those selling drugs or the thief. We may appear to move a little slow at times, but I assure you we are doing our very best even with the staff shortage. We live in this community also and are doing our best to supervise these individuals to help maintain the safety and security of this area.
Probation and Parole Manager
Calhoun, Cleburne, Cherokee and Etowah counties