Yolo County Probation Department
By Beth Gabor, Yolo County Public Information Officer
Hopefully, you haven’t had occasion to familiarize yourself with Yolo County’s Probation Department. You should know, however, that Probation is an integral part of the criminal justice system, working closely with the Sheriff, Courts, District Attorney and the Public Defender. Probation is charged with supervision of probationers, enforcement of probation conditions and response to violations.
Yolo County’s Probation Department is operated by 116 employees, with 93 designated as peace officers. Peace officers provide supervision to 4,000 adult and 1,200 juvenile offenders placed on probation. Supervision occurs throughout the Yolo County community, including the home, school and office.
Probation also operates a detention facility, used to house serious juvenile offenders. The newly built 90-bed juvenile detention facility is staffed 24 hours a day and contains classrooms, a medical facility, an exercise room and a courtroom.
Not every criminal offender is locked up. Some are given probation directly, which means they are supervised in the community and held accountable for unacceptable behavior. Deputy Probation Officers monitor probationer activities, including social and living environments and counsel probationers and their families in an effort to acclimate them to a life without crime.
The mission of the Probation Department is to help offenders become accountable to the public and to provide the structure needed so victims can be made whole through restitution. Probation also complies with the direction of the Courts. The department prides itself on being proactive in providing treatment for sex, drug and anger-related offenses, while also infusing accountability into the system through detention, placement, and fines.
Support, monitoring, and guidance are day-to-day activities in for Probation. Providing work programs for probationers creates a constructive alternative to the criminal lifestyle often engrained in many offenders. Allowing offenders to give something back to the community is rewarding for both the offender and victims of crimes. Supervision in this way reduces recidivism of this at-risk population. One program of note is the Youth Conservation Corp Program – a collaboration with the Yolo County Office of Education, Yolo County Alcohol, Drug & Mental Health Services, and the Department of Planning, Resources and Public Works.
Earlier this year, Yolo County Probation staff moved into their new facility located adjacent to the also recently opened Juvenile Detention Facility at County Road 102 and Gibson Road in Woodland. The 10,000 square foot factory-built office building is the first of its kind in the 97-year history of the Probation Department.
Yolo County’s Probation Department, originally established in 1909, began occupying in 1949 what later became known as the George Zane Probation Building – a building previously designed for use as a juvenile hall. Yolo County’s new Probation building marks the first time staff operate out of a building designed specifically to meet their needs. On May 16, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors will officially open the new Probation building, marking the occasion by each planting a tree in honor of Arbor Day.