Parole officers in Brooklyn, New York will soon be stationed in a new office that opens in January of 2015 and which will have roughly 300 to 400 parolees visiting the office on a daily basis.
The news is great for the officers who will have a new facility to work out of after years at the old Brooklyn facility, but residents in the area are a bit more apprehensive about it. A meeting was held recently with district parole officers, representatives from New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, and local residents to discuss the new facility.
Residents expressed concern simply about the sheer numbers of parolees that would be shuffling in and out of the facility and generally being around their neighborhood. But representatives and officers assured them that the ex-cons are there to report to their parole officers, to be tested for illegal narcotics, and to obtain certain social services like housing assistance and job placement.
All told, there will be about 100 parole officers stationed at the new facility as well as more than 30 support staff and between 5 and 7 bureau chiefs. The outside of the building is equipped with surveillance cameras and other security measures to ensure public safety.
To further calm residents, DOCCS representatives also told the area residents that the old parole facility was open for more than 25 years and only experienced one serious incident involving a parolee.
Mary Smith, the DOCCS Regional Director, stated that parolees are not in the habit of spending any more time in or around the parole facilities than they need to. They go in, they report to their officer and they leave. They have no desire to “hang around.”