Contact Information

Picture of Robert Burns.

Robert J. Burns

Chief Probation Officer

e-mail

Monroe County Office of Probation—Community Corrections

33 N. Fitzhugh St.
Suite 2000
Rochester, NY
14614-1233
Phone: 585 753-3765
Fax: 585 753-3552


Leslie Barnes

Deputy Chief Probation Officer

Phone: 585 753-3347


Rochelle Lempert

Assistant Chief Probation Officer

Criminal Services Division

Phone: 585 753-3463

Probation and Community Corrections

As the oldest and largest alternative to incarceration, probation provides quality services that assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.

The Monroe County Office of Probation—Community Corrections was among the first in New York State to offer specialized programs that provide protection to the community and help to prevent overcrowding in local and state correctional facilities.

A professional staff of more than 180 employees serves the citizens of Monroe County at four major locations and several satellite offices. The functions performed as ordered by the courts are wide and varied. This site provides a quick overview of the many functions of probation.

Vision

Monroe County is a community of choice that is economically prosperous, safe and fun. We attract employers, skilled workers and visitors because our community offers:

  • stable property taxes;
  • safe, secure neighborhoods;
  • a wide range of recreational and cultural activities;
  • collaboration among the County’s municipalities to create a sound governmental infrastructure;
  • quality housing at affordable prices;
  • access to superior health care systems, and
  • outstanding educational opportunities through a wide variety of institutions of higher learning.

These factors make Monroe County a community where our children and grandchildren want to stay and raise their families.

Mission

The Monroe County Office of Probation—Community Corrections is a division of the Monroe County Department of Public Safety. Through the dedicated efforts of all our staff and volunteers, we provide Intake, Assessment, Investigation and Supervision services, including counseling and referral, for the community, clients, victims, the judicial system and public and private agencies. We are committed to protecting the public, assisting in judicial decision-making and promoting law-abiding behavior in a cost effective manner.

100 Years of Service

A Brief History of Monroe County Probation

The Monroe County Probation Department was created on March 31, 1901. County Judge Arthur Sutherland had concluded that court oversight would save many offenders and change their lives for the better. In addition, the judges sought a process whereby intimate knowledge of the offender would be known prior to sentencing.

Since the judges had neither the time nor facilities to do this important work, a Probation Agency was created and a Probation Officer appointed—the first in New York State.

Alfred Masters was Monroe County’s first Probation Officer and Chief, serving from 1901 until 1929. Mr. Masters was a Civil War Veteran who worked as a court attendant with the Commissioner of Jurors before being appointed Probation Officer by Judge Sutherland.

The Adult Probation Department was originally located on the main floor of the County Court House—now known and the County Office Building at 39 W. Main St.—with five private offices for consultation. Currently, probation services are delivered from four buildings located in the downtown area and numerous neighborhood off-site locations.

Children’s Court was implemented in 1912 to deal with delinquent and neglected children, with new laws also establishing a Detention Center, a Juvenile Probation Agency and a Law Guardian System.

During the 1920s, Monroe County Probation supervised approximately 600 individuals—more than 12,000 cases were handled in 2000!

From the staffing level of one in 1901, the profession has grown to its current level of 234.

The Office of Probation—Community Corrections provides protection to our community through supervision of offenders, investigations for the courts and through numerous creative programs. Victims are served through restitution and applications for orders of protection, and many families benefit from extensive family court diversion programs.

The Office provides individual and group counseling, educational programs, case management and extensive fieldwork including home visits and surveillance. Special teams concentrate on DWI Offenders, Sex Offenders and those with significant substance abuse or mental health problems. Domestic Violence, Electronic Monitoring and Warrant Officers enhance the credibility of probation services through intervention efforts aimed at preventing new crimes. Aftercare Officers supervise juveniles returning to our community after placement periods, increasing opportunities for a successful transition.

In response to jail overcrowding, Monroe County Probation was the first in New York to develop a variety of special programs to provide intensive supervision services as an alternative to incarceration. Today, the Office provides Felony & Misdemeanor Intensive Supervision, Community Service Sentencing, and a formal Alternatives To Incarceration Program.

While the oldest probation agency in New York State, and the most often utilized sentencing option in Monroe County, the Office of Probation—Community Corrections continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the community. Probation has grown in recognition and stature as an integral part of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Its dedicated staff will continue to provide quality services to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens while providing direct public protection to our neighborhoods.

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Programs and Services

The Office of Probation—Community Corrections (OPCC) provides a multitude of New York State mandated services. Among the activities performed are: preliminary services and investigations of all eligible clients of Family Court, investigation services to the Criminal Courts and supervision and treatment services to all clients sentenced to Probation. OPCC is dedicated to assisting the courts in rendering decisions and then enforcing the orders of the court. For appropriate persons, programs exist as alternatives to traditional court processing. OPCC’s underlying objective is to identify services and programs which encourage the offender to become a law abiding citizen.

In 1995, the division implemented a new function: the Jail Utilization Systems Team, also known as Project JUST. The intention of this effort was to relieve the overcrowding of the jail, and it entailed the addition of several Probation Officers and the relocation of the Special Services team to a new site.

Probation Officers and other staff work are located in three offices: Hall of Justice, 80 W. Main St., and Monroe County City Place along with extensive fieldwork. Officers provide probation services at several schools, neighborhood centers and police stations.

The Administration Office has the responsibility for the overall administration of the division. Responsibilities include:

  • financial planning,
  • staff training,
  • administering student intern/volunteer/Americorps programs,
  • collecting restitution,
  • collecting court-ordered fines and fees from probationers,
  • issuing payments to victims of crime,
  • managing several service contracts and administering grants.

The Juvenile Services Division and Family Court related services consist of three units:

  • The Juvenile Supervision Unit in which staff supervise youth adjudicated by the Courts as Juvenile Delinquents (JD) or Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS),
  • The Juvenile Intensive Supervision Program (JISP) where officers provide in-home, community-based intensive supervision for JD and PINS youth placed on probation and
  • the Alternative-to-Placement Program which provides intensive services to youth and their families residing in the northeast quadrant of the City of Rochester. An Aftercare Supervision Team provides discharge planning and intensive supervision of certain JDs released from State Office of Children and Family Service placement.

The Juvenile Intake Unit Officers provide Preliminary Intake Review and Designated Assessment Services to PINS cases as required by the County’s PINS Diversion Plan, and supervise and refer PINS and JD cases through Intake/Diversion agreements (in lieu of Family Court petitions). Intake is generally the initial contact for all youth under 18 who come to the Office of Probation-Community Corrections. Two probation officers, designated as the CHANGE initiative officers, are out-stationed at the Jefferson Middle School and at The Madison School of Excellence. They serve as generalist juvenile officers who work closely with other agency personnel and handle intake, investigation and supervision matters for those clients located in the school and surrounding neighborhood.

Other specialized programs include: Aggression Replacement Training (ART) which includes an enhancement grant that provides for evening sessions with offenders and their parents, a New York State funded Substance Abuse Specialist who provides intensive service to substance abusing juveniles, and the Enhanced Supervision Program where officers provide intensive supervision to adjudicated Juvenile Delinquents.

The Criminal Investigations Division prepares orders for Pre-sentence Investigations that are received from Supreme, County, City or Town/Village courts for all defendants convicted of a felony, all defendants whose sentence would exceed 90 days incarceration, all persons sentenced to probation and those convicted as an eligible youth prior to a determination of Youthful Offender status. Courts may also order Pre-sentence Investigations on any case they deem appropriate. Jail Pre-sentence Investigations are completed within 2 weeks as part of the Project JUST initiative.

In the Criminal Supervision section are five Adult Criminal Supervision Units which supervise adults who meet with their Probation Officers on a regular basis. Staff are responsible for assessing the initial needs of the client, enforcing all conditions of the probation term, referring for appropriate treatment, monitoring attendance and progress and reporting violation of probation and offenses committed by the probationer to the sentencing court. Inter and intra-state transfer functions are also handled within this section.

Operation Nightwatch, which teams Probation Officers with uniformed Rochester City Police Officers to conduct evening curfew checks on high risk offenders, works out of this division. Officers specializing in sex offender, welfare fraud and youthful offender supervision techniques are also deployed from this division.

The Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) provides specialized services, primarily to adult offenders in a variety of formats. The Intensive Supervision Program Unit (ISP) supervises high-risk felony offenders who have been diverted from commitment at the NYS Division of Correctional Services (DOCS). This unit provides an intensive modality of treatment services to probationers as well as an extensive frequency of case contacts at the office and home.

The DWI Unit supervises probationers who are primarily multiple drinking-driver offenders. These probationers undergo an alcohol abuse assessment and are referred to alcohol treatment resources. The unit coordinates the Office’s DWI surveillance program by observing high-risk DWI offenders’ travel within the community and enforcing violations of court orders.

The Community Service Sentencing Unit provides alternatives to incarceration for non-violent offenders through sentencing of probationers/defendants to perform work without pay for the benefit of public and non-profit agencies in the community.

The Domestic Violence Intervention Unit provides adult, family offense intake services to assist victims of domestic violence by preparing Family Court Orders of Protection and by referring for services. Unit members provide adult intake services to the Family Court for modification/enforcement matters and conduct custody and visitation investigations as ordered by the Court.

Project JUST (Jail Utilization Systems Team) has three major components:

  • Pre-Trial Release Graduated Restrictions Option Program which assesses all individuals not released at arraignment through Pre-Trial Release, Released on Recognizance, or by posting bail or bond. An individual’s overall status including the current charge, social and criminal history and Failure-To-Appear record is evaluated by the Assessment Unit who prepares a comprehensive report for the judge regarding each individual’s eligibility for one of the new Graduated Restriction Release Program options.
  • Graduated Restrictions Options, designed to serve the non-violent defendant charged with minor crimes, include Pre-Trial Electronic Home Confinement, Enhanced Pretrial Services Supervised Release, Enhanced Diversion Programs, a Day Report/Day Treatment Center, Urinalysis Testing and a Limited Custody Facility. Judges may use restrictions singularly or in conjunction with one another.
  • Differentiated Case Management is a case processing technique used by the Courts to tailor case management whereby each case may have different case processing milestones and schedules with the timelines established by the Court.

Warrant Officers locate and arrest persons named in violation of probation warrants and defendants who have been released to Project JUST programs but who fail to appear in court or at mandated programs.

Also as part of the JUST programs, Misdemeanor ISP provides intensive monitoring and supervision for high risk individuals sentenced to probation for non-felonies and Electronic Monitoring (Home Confinement) uses technology, including the Global Positioning system, to enforce court orders that restrict offenders to their homes.

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Persons In Need of Supervision (PINS)

Q. What is PINS?

Person in Need of Supervision (PINS) is a term used to describe youth with serious behavior problems who come to the attention of the Juvenile Justice System. The Family Court Act (Article 7) contains laws which determine how PINS cases must be handled.

Q. Who is a PINS?

Youth under the age of eighteen who show a pattern of disobedience, running away, curfew violations, drug or alcohol abuse, violent behavior or severe school truancy.

Q. What can the PINS process do?

Youth who exhibit such behavior may receive from probation assessment, supervision, counseling, evaluation, advocacy, respite housing, or other services—often free of charge. Diversion services are required in most cases. The PINS process works primarily with cases which have already tried other services in the community.

Q. Who can bring a complaint?

Most PINS complaints are made by the parents or school districts. To make a complaint you must have specific charges, including information on when the behavior occurred. You do not need police reports but may need school attendance records.

Q. Want to find out more?

A Probation Officer is available to accept telephone inquiries or return calls daily, Monday through Friday. The officer will discuss the situation, make referrals, or schedule appointments. Ask for Preliminary Intake Review (PIR).

Probation Intake: 585 753-2919

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Preliminary Intake Review (PIR)

Q. What can I expect at Probation?

All PINS cases must be reviewed by Probation Intake; first to ensure that they are eligible for service, then for assessment and planning. The process may take two to three hours and includes a complete family history. In some cases probation will ask that your child be seen for other evaluations. Probation Intake can supervise cases for up to six months.

Q. Can I use a PINS to prevent problems with my teenager?

No. Cases cannot be accepted unless a pattern of behavior already exists. Threats to run away or not attend school are not grounds for a PINS.

Q. Can I just walk in?

Cases are seen by appointment only! If there is an emergency you will be seen quickly, but we first need to review each case by telephone to be sure you bring the required documents and there is an officer available to help you.

Q. Must I bring my child?

The law requires that both parent and child be seen at probation. You cannot begin this process in secret. If your child is missing from home or refuses to come with you, call probation for instructions on how to proceed.

Q. What do I do if my child runs away?

You should begin by calling 911 to file a missing person report. There is no waiting period for reporting children missing. If your child has a history of running away, has been gone several days, or is refusing to return home you may need to request a warrant to allow police the authority to locate and hold your child. In these cases you should call probation after filing the missing person report.

Q. Do PINS cases go to court?

Most PINS cases are resolved at Probation and do not go to court. The law requires that every effort be made to avoid court. Severe cases which go to court may be given a warning and rules by the judge and returned to Probation for services; be placed on probation supervision for one year; or, placed out of the home. If a case does go to court, the law requires both parents be notified, even if they do not live together.

Q. Do I need an attorney?

The assistance of an attorney is not required to bring a complaint. Probation will assist parents with initial paperwork if court involvement is necessary.

Q. Will my child be placed?

Probation and the court are required to make every attempt to keep families together and avoid placement. The majority of cases do not result in placement.

Q. If my child is placed, who pays?

Parents are responsible for the financial support of minor children. If your child is placed by Family Court, you will be required to pay an amount based on your income. The law requires that both parents and step-parents share in the

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