Probation Officers’ Workloads Continue to Grow, Grow, Grow!

Our esteemed Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed a group of bills overhauling criminal sentencing guidelines and laws. Edwards believes this group of bills will lead to a 10% reduction in the state prison population over the next decade, plus a decrease in crime rates. Thank you Governor Edwards for your excellent leadership here.

An estimated 1,200 extra  inmates will be released on probation or parole within 2 years due to these new sentencing reduction laws.  Most of the probation workers support these new laws, even though it will increase their workload substantially. The probation officers believe these new measures will lower recidivism, eventually reducing officers’ work loads. But for the immediate future, the opposite is true, even though probation and parole resources won’t get any additional support.

This decrease in services and additional cases could lead to staff leaving the department, which would generate more work for each officer.

Low pay, giant caseloads and the stressful nature of the job means job attrition rates have always been high. A new probation officer earns $30,056, which hasn’t changed since 2007. Our neighboring state of Texas starts their probation officers at $39,700 and Mississippi pays 36,200.

According to New Orleans District Supervisor Richard Berger, when (officers) are leaving at such a fast rate, a lot of times people get set aside, and they’re not getting the services they should because we can’t shuffle them around enough. This leaves to very high officer attrition rate, as the grass really is greener in nearby states. Salaries are far higher for comparable jobs in Louisiana also. At the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries , an officer’s starting salary is $46,612. That is 50% higher than the starting salary for a probation and parole officer. Th

Probation and Parole Gear

New Iberia District Supervisor Danny Barras told lawmakers during a recent hearing, you used to be able to pay your bills. Lawmakers got the message, the state budget that started July 1 authorizes a 2 percent raise to probation and parole officers. That starts immediately. In January, roughly half will be getting an additional pay bounce of $3,362. In 2018, the starting salary moves up to $34,632 which is still less than neighboring states but at least we are making progress in the right direction.

Probation and parole caseloads average 175 cases per worker, which is sky high. Recently this dropped to 150 with the hiring of 20 officers statewide.

~ by neworleansmusicman on July 16, 2017.

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