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Friday, January 14, 2011

Franklin Couty Court Initiates New Probation Plan, Violaters Arrested "On The Spot"

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Court Initiates New Probation Supervision, Sanctions Plan


First in Missouri ___________________________________________________________________________________
January 14, 2011
By Ed Pruneau, Missourian Managing Editor

A new program that promises "swift and certain sanctions" for felony offenders who violate probation is being initiated in Franklin County Circuit Court and may spread throughout Missouri depending on its success.
Circuit Judge Gael Wood said under the program, modeled after one in Hawaii, if a probationer fails to make an appointed meeting with his or her probation officer or fails a drug test, they will be arrested "on the spot" and held until they can be brought before a judge, usually within 48 hours. At that time the judge will order some amount of jail time with the punishment increasing for subsequent violations.
The initial MAPS (Missouri Augmented Probation Supervision) program involves 13 men determined to be at the highest risk of violating probation through continued drug use, according to Lisa Schulze, district administrator II with the probation and parole office in Union.
Those offenders were called to a hearing Monday where Judge Wood outlined the program and gave them a clear warning of the consequences if they fail to follow all terms of their probation.
Judge Wood said the probationers will begin the program next week when they will be assigned a color code, then be closely monitored by probation officers through a call-in hot line. They will be required to call the hot line each weekday morning and must report to the probation office for drug testing if their color code is selected.
Judge Wood said he and Schulze have been working on developing the supervision strategy for about the last six months after Wood heard about it at a seminar on outcome-based sentencing.
 As mentioned, Franklin County is the first in the state to implement the program. Besides Hawaii, the program is in place in Alaska and Michigan, Schulze said.
The innovative supervision strategy was started by Circuit Judge Steven Alm in 2004 as a pilot program to reduce probation violations among drug offenders and those at the highest risk of failing.
A team of officials will meet on a monthly basis to evaluate the program.
MAPS team members include Judges Wood and Hoven; Schulze; Wickey; Lisa Preddy, public defender; Bob Parks, prosecuting attorney; Jack Meyer, assistant prosecutor; Scott Fulford, private attorney; Union Police Chief Norman Brune; Sheriff Gary Toelke; Bill D. Miller, circuit clerk; and Connie Ward, Division 1 court clerk.
 . Click Here to Read More.

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