Pama Hencerling, chief Probation Officer for Victoria and Goliad counties in Texas, received the Bill Anderson Pioneer award last week for her contributions to the community and her work as a probation officer. Last year, she also received the Amador R. Rodriguez Lifetime Achievement Award from the Juvenile Justice Association of Texas.
The award was named for the original director of the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission, Bill Anderson, who died in 2005 after a lifetime of service to the state, and personally developing the state’s probation program for kids. He advocated for troubled kids and their families and helped to set up programs that prevented them from continuing to cause problems in their communities.
The Institute, the oldest active corrective organization in the state of Texas, gave the award to Hencerling noting her extensive contributions to the juvenile justice system in Texas. Hencerling and Anderson both graduated from Sam Houston State University, but her similarities to Anderson do not end there. She has served for 30 years in the corrections department as a supervisor and as an adult probation officer, and she started interning in the program while Anderson was still its chief.
Like Anderson, she made huge strides in developing the juvenile probation office, though she has brought her own unique perspective to the role. In part, this is because Hencerling is the first woman to hold the role and to hold any chief role in the entire corrections department. She has expanded on the work that Anderson did, continuing to set up preventative programs and enforcing continued education initiatives for her probation officers. By emphasizing continued education for officers working with children, Hencerling and Anderson have both taken steps to ensure that Texas probation officers understand that rehabilitating children is of the utmost importance.