Fort Bend County has established the Community Supervision and Corrections Department to supervise probation offenders, community supervisees, and pretrial defendants in the area. Community corrections officers in Fort Bend County supervised 3,325 probationers in 2011, at an average daily cost of $4,588.50. The number of misdemeanor probationers totaled 1,449 while the total number of felony probationers was 1,876.
In the five years prior to 2004, Fort Bend County revoked 211 probations for offenders, on average annually. The majority of these offenders were re-incarcerated at a cost $40,000 per year. In 2004, Fort Bend received a $363,000 state grant which established a special sanctions court, which responded to technical violations of probation like substance abuse or missed meetings with short jail stays, additional community service hours or fines. Since the founding of the sanctions court, the number of revocations has dropped 12 percent.
How to Become a Probation Officer in Fort Bend County, Texas
Education – Prospective community corrections officers interested in pursuing jobs in Fort Bend County should possess at least a bachelor’s degree, with preference given to majors in:
- Social work
Experience – There is also a requirement for at least one year of professional experience in the fields of clinical counseling, social welfare or law enforcement for candidates serious about learning how to become a probation officer in Fort Bend County. Individuals may also satisfy this requirement with at least one year of study at the graduate level.
Training – Within six months of being hired, new community corrections officers must enroll in a Texas probation officer certification course and successfully complete it. These courses usually include instruction in:
- Defensive tactics
- Restraint techniques
- Interpersonal communication
- Report writing
- Case management
Community corrections officers in Fort Bend are not commissioned as peace officers, but they may carry firearms on duty if they become certified in firearms proficiency from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education.
Within the first four years of service, 80 hours of additional training must be completed every two years; after the first four years, 40 hours of training must be completed every two years.
Fort Bend County’s Community Corrections Programs
The CSCD also administers several pretrial programs. The Pretrial Intervention Program allows offenders to complete a program like chemical dependency treatment or mental health counseling rather than go to trial. If the treatment program is completed, the criminal charges are dismissed. In order to qualify for the Pretrial Intervention Program, the Fort Bend District Attorney must agree to the diversion. A diversion program may be up to two years in length.
The Pretrial Bond Supervision Program allows defendants to enter a supervision plan outside of jail in anticipation of a trial. Various monitoring techniques may be used including random drug or alcohol testing, GPS or electronic monitoring, and the use of ignition interlock devices.
GS Pay Grade in Fort Bend
The Fort Bend Community Supervision and Corrections Department employed nine Community Corrections Officers at the G09 pay grade, and 39 Community Corrections Officers at the G10 pay grade. There were eight Senior Officers rated G11, and five supervisors rated G12. The Assistant Director received a G14 pay grade, while the Director was awarded a G17 pay grade.