John Gusz, Chief
Supervision, Interstate and Collection Services
Probation is a sentencing alternative that provides selected offenders the opportunity to serve a criminal sentence in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. A sentence of probation may require an offender to pay fines or restitution or to seek counseling for substance abuse or for entail health or family problems. Probation officers also arrange for and monitor community service work that is often required of offenders. Probation officers collect from offenders more than $20 million in court-imposed fines a year.
The Adult Supervision Unit supervises all offenders placed on probation or placed under supervision by the Superior, Municipal and Family Courts. As an alternative to incarceration, probation supervision allows offenders the opportunity to remain in the community, maintain gainful employment and be a positive asset to their families.
The mandate of a supervision officer is to enforce the orders of the court. This is accomplished by requiring probationers to submit to drug screening, alcohol/drug abuse treatment, mental health counseling, perform community service, obtain employment, attend school or training and pay court ordered fines and penalties. Additionally, officers perform field and home visits while also requiring the offenders to report to them on a regular basis in a controlled and secure environment. When an offender is determined to be non-compliant with his or her conditions, they are returned to court for corrective sanctions. Probation warrants can also be issued and executed when it has been determined that immediate intervention is required for the protection of both the offender and the community.
The Adult Supervision Unit currently supervises over varying levels of classification. This is achieved through the teams within the unit that have team specific functions to include general supervision, intake and assignment, community service, collections, and a variety of specialized supervisions.
John Gusz, Chief
Supervision, Interstate and Collection Services
Juvenile Supervision is a dispositional alternative in the Superior Court, Family Part. It offers juvenile offenders the opportunity to remain in their own community under supervision by a probation officer who monitors their compliance with the rules and conditions imposed by the Family Court Judge. These conditions may include completing treatment, paying restitution and fines, and achieving educational goals. The probation officer works with the parent/guardian, treatment provider and school to ensure that the juvenile successfully completes the term of probation and is rehabilitated.
The Juvenile Supervision Unit is a Division of the Probation Department which is part of the NJ State Judiciary. The Juvenile Supervision Unit specializes in supervising all juveniles placed on Probation or Deferred Disposition by the Family Court. In addition, Probation Officers supervise juveniles who have been placed on probation in other Counties or States and have relocated to Atlantic/Cape May County.
The philosophy of juvenile supervision is one of rehabilitation. Officers are responsible to enforce the orders of the court while developing case plans specific to each juvenile. These plans are developed based on the needs of the clients and their families. The ultimate goal is for the child to complete their probation term successfully while remaining arrest free.
To achieve this goal, the supervision officer monitors the youth in all aspects of their lives including but not limited to: school attendance and behavior, employment, family/domestic life, substance/alcohol abuse, mental health and behavior issues. Regularly, officers will meet with parents, school officials and treatment providers to address a child’s needs. Probation Officers are active in the community not only performing school and home visits but also developing valuable community partnerships with police departments and family centers. A graduated sanctioning system is utilized to address non compliance and redirect negative behavior.
Juvenile caseloads are arranged both geographically and by school enrollment. General and specialized caseloads have been developed to address the different needs of the juvenile clients under supervision. In addition to case supervision, probation staff teaches a program titled the Victim Impact Program. This program is a sentencing option for the Court. Probation staff also schedules two community service projects each month to assist juveniles in fulfilling their community service requirement.
Ralph A. Esposito, ChiefIntensive Services Program
The New Jersey Judiciary also operates what is known as the Intensive Supervision Program, or ISP, which has proved successful in rehabilitating serious offenders. Under ISP, offenders who are sentenced to state prison may apply to a panel of judges for release into this special monitoring and supervision program. To be eligible, applicants must demonstrate the willingness and ability to adhere to the program's strict guidelines.
In response to the prison overcrowding crisis of the early 1980’s, the legislature funded the establishment of the New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program. The program, which commenced in 1983 under the direction of the Administrative Office of the Courts, was designed to test whether an intermediate form of punishment, one which would be less costly than prison, but much more onerous than traditional probation, will achieve the criminal justice objective of deterrence, as well as rehabilitation.
The New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program provides a structure in which certain offenders, sentenced to state penal institutions in the traditional fashion, are afforded an opportunity to work their way back into the community under intensive supervision. The program requires that offenders present a plan, which gives full assurance to a Screening Board and a Resentencing Panel of judges, that their return to the community will result in a positive social adjustment and will not jeopardize the public’s safety. By no means is the Intensive Supervision Program a “slap on the wrist”. It is, as the name implies, “intense”. For that reason, this program is not suited for everyone facing a prison term, and success is not assured. But for those who do succeed, participation can be a life altering experience.
Goals of the New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program:
Features of the New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program:
In the beginning stages, ISP had three regional offices and less than 100 participants. Today, there are six regional offices and over 1200 participants at any one time. ISP officers devote approximately 80% or their time to direct field supervision, involving themselves in almost every aspect of the participants’ lives. As evidenced in a consistently low recidivism rate, the Intensive Supervision Program is working.
For more information, contact the New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program at:171 Jersey Street
Dawn Mason, ChiefJuvenile Intensive Supervision Program
The Juvenile Intensive Supervision Program (JISP) was implemented in response to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s Task Force on Juveniles, Justice and the Courts as a strategy for early intervention against juvenile delinquency through intensive community supervision.
The Juvenile Intensive supervision program, JISP, is situated within the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Probation Services Division. JISP is a statewide dispositional option for Family Court judges seeking detention alternatives for youth offenders deemed at risk for recidivism. It is considered an alternative to commitment for medium to severe juvenile cases. First degree dispositions and those involving sex offenses and arson in the current offense are currently ineligible to participate. Select offenders are exposed to rehabilitation techniques that are more stringent than juvenile probation, but less rigid than detention or commitment.
JISP receives referrals from Family Court judges in each of the vicinages, and conducts admissions investigations to determine the potential for a JISP candidate to succeed in the program. Prior to disposition, an assessment report containing recommendations is submitted to the Family Court for review, including any special conditions such as counseling to address individual problems. Supervision periods are assigned and modified at the discretion of the Family Court Judge.
JISP works cooperatively with the Family Court and community agencies to provide support services to assist participants and their families. These vital relationships help to connect participants with necessary education and health services that will enhance their potential for success.
JISP requires an admission “contract” between the participant, their family and the court. JISP supervision teams are comprised of a Court Services Officer 3 (CSO3), who conducts direct supervision of assigned participants and a Court Services Officer 1 (CSO1), who provides support and coverage supervision as needed. The team works cooperatively under the direction of the JISP Regional Supervisor to monitor compliance with court imposed conditions, develop community resources and assistance to the participants and families to meet program expectations.
Attendance in school and/or work is required and monitored, as well as participation in community service when ordered. Curfews are enforced, as well as attendance in support groups and appropriate substance abuse and mental health treatment is required when indicated. Court ordered fines and restitution to victims must be addressed. Judges may modify court orders according to participants’ demonstrated compliance, measured through officer recommendations and progress reports. Officers may modify case plans with supervisor approval based on individual needs, which may fluctuate.
All participant activities are recorded in the probation statewide “Comprehensive Automated Probation System.” (CAPS).
JISP encourages rehabilitation and strives to provide a backdrop for positive social engagement through close supervision and monitoring. The program provides positive reinforcement for individual success, while protecting the community by enforcing court orders with sanctions for noncompliance. The program endeavors to impart a sense of personal responsibility among participants through a continuum of graduated rewards and sanctions.
Sanctions can run the gamut from increased curfew restrictions to home detention with electronic monitoring and ultimately to violation proceedings for egregious non-compliance when less severe intervention efforts prove to be futile.
Rewards extend from reduced curfews to early release from JISP for participants who demonstrate exceptional compliance and progress in the program. Graduation ceremonies may take place in Family Court and are hailed by judges as one of the few positive celebrations ever to take place in the courtroom.
JISP officers are assigned to Regional Offices in Newark and Camden, where Regional Supervisors manage their work. The JISP Chief with the assistance of an Administrative Specialist IV and Administrative Specialist 1 provide administrative and technical support to the regions from the Central Office in Trenton.
For more information on JISP, or to request information on volunteering in the program, call or write JISP’s administrative office in Trenton.