West Texas CSCD

Magdalena Morales-Aina, LPC        Director

800 E. Overland
Suite 100
El Paso, Texas 79901-2516
Phone (915) 546-8120
Fax (915) 546-8130
WestTexasCSCD
@epcounty.com

West Texas CSCD

  • Frequently Asked Questions
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  • What is the difference between "probation" and "community supervision"?
  • What is the difference between "community supervision" and "parole"?
  • Doesn't being placed on community supervision just mean you've gotten away with it?
  • How do you train to be a Community Supervision Officer?
  • Is a community supervision officer like a social worker?
  • What kind of offenses do people get community supervision for?
  • What kind of offenses do people get community service for?
  • What do community supervision officers actually do?
  • How much does community supervision cost?
  • How effective is community supervision?
  • Why Did the Offender receive Probation?
  • What Conditions does an Offender have to abide by?
  • If an Offender violates their Conditions, will he/she go to jail?
  • How Can I Stay Informed on Changes in a Case?
  • What is V.I.N.E.?
  • What is Restitution?
  • Is everyone entitled to Restitution?
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  • Q: What is the difference between "probation" and "community supervision"?
  • A: By acts of the 71st Legislature, effective January 1990, the name "Adult Probation Department" was changed by law for all departments in the state to "Community Supervision and Corrections Department". This was to recognize the greater scope and role of community corrections in our state today. In keeping with this, in 1993 the 73rd Legislature changed the terms "probation" and "Probation Officer" to "community supervision" and "Community Supervision Officer".
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  • Q: What is the difference between "community supervision" and "parole"?
  • A: "Community supervision" is an alternative offered by the court to an individual, who has been adjudicated by the court of committing a criminal offense. Within certain legal guidelines, the court sets a side a sentence and an individual is ordered to participate in the numerous programs and supervision of the community supervision department. "Parole" is a transition from prison to living free in the community. Parole officers assist offenders released from prison to gain employment, receive treatment and move toward becoming productive and positive citizens. (For more information on parole:
  • http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/parole/parole-home.htm
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  • Q: Doesn't being placed on community supervision just mean you've gotten away with it?
  • A: No. If you are community supervision, you have to meet your community supervision officer regularly, draw up a plan of action and work hard to move away from offending. In this respect community supervision may be harder than prison sentence. For people who are used to leading chaotic lives, sticking to a community supervision order is a challenge.
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  • Q: How do you train to be a Community Supervision Officer?
  • A: To be eligible for employment as a community supervision officer who supervises offenders, a person:
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  • (1) must have a bachelor's degree conferred by an institution of higher education accredited by an accrediting organization recognized by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; and
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  • (2) unless the bachelor's degree is in criminal justice, criminology, corrections, counseling, human services development, law, law enforcement, police science, pre-law, public administration, rehabilitative studies, social work, psychology, or sociology, the person must have:
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  •    (A)one year of graduate study in one of those fields; or
  •    (B)one year of experience in full-time casework, counseling, or community or group work; or
  •    (C)other education or experience, documented by letter in the employees personnel file, which indicates that they were the most qualified applicant at the time of hiring. Such letter shall be signed by the CSCD Director.
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  • (3) cannot be employed as a peace officer; and cannot be currently on community supervision, parole, or serving a sentence for a criminal offense.
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  • Once the above criteria are meet, officers must be certified. After a week of intensive training, provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Community Justice Assistance Division, officers must pass an exam to be certified. While employed as a certified community supervision officer, continuous training is required to maintain certification.
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  • Q: Is a community supervision officer like a social worker?
  • A: Training is now more specialized for community supervision officers so they can help people with problems in their lives, but the community supervision department is a part of the criminal justice system and this helps in offering specific assistance to prevent people from re-offending. If an offender is not complying with community supervision, the community supervision officer will take steps to have him or her taken back to court.
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  • Q: What kind of offenses do people get community supervision for?
  • A: A community supervision order (formerly known as a probation order) can be ordered for any offense, which the law makes community supervision an option. The purpose of a community supervision order is to rehabilitate the offender, protect the public and prevent the offender committing further offenses.
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  • Q: What kind of offenses do people get community service for?
  • A: By law, community service shall be ordered in ALL cases, with few exceptions. Community service is ordered in an effort to make the offender realize that not only do most crimes have a direct victim, but the community is a victim as well.
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  • Q: What do community supervision officers actually do?
  • A: An offender and his or her community supervision officer will agree on a supervision plan to prevent reoffending and address any needs the offender has in his/her life. Urinalysis is used to ensure that offenders are not using illegal drugs. The plan can include a variety of measures: treatment for substance use, referral to programs for specific offenses (like domestic violence), getting work, education and training - as well as talking about the offense, its effect on other people-specifically the victim, and why it happened. The community supervision officer meets the offender regularly to see that he or she is sticking to the plan and has made progress. The officer will also conduct field contacts with the offender, in an effort to show interest, verify information and ensure that the court's orders are being upheld.
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  • Q: How much does community supervision cost?
  • A: The court can order an individual on community supervision to pay up to $60.00 a month, plus court costs, program costs and restitution to a victim.
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  • Q: How effective is community supervision?
  • A: A successful probation system is demonstrably more cost-effective than prison, and it allows offenders to work, care for their families and pay taxes. Texas should consider additional funding for basic supervision and victim services to improve the effectiveness of its probation programs.
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  • Q: Why Did the Offender receive Probation?
  • A: Many times, the victim asks why the offender was granted a term of community supervision (probation). In reality, community-based corrections are recognized as having the greatest potential for the effective rehabilitation of the offender and for the control of crime. While some offenders are ineligible for community supervision and are sentenced to a term in prison, the majority can be assisted in dealing with their problems while remaining under the proper supervision.
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  • When offenders are placed on community supervision by a judge or jury, they remain in the community, living at home if possible, and carry on their normal daily activities under the supervision of a community supervision officer.
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  • Q: What Conditions does an Offender have to abide by?
  • A: When an offender is placed on community supervision by the court, he/she signs a "contract" whereby he/she agrees to abide by certain conditions.
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  • These conditions USUALLY include:
  • - Report to the probation officer once a month
  • - Do not commit any new crime
  • - Do not use alcohol and / or drugs or enter bars
  • - Do not leave El Paso County
  • - Perform community service work
  • - Pay restitution, fine, court fees and probation fees if ordered
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  • Q: If an Offender violates their Conditions, will he/she go to jail?
  • A: Not necessarily. Prison costs are exceptionally high and those costs are passed to the taxpayer. So depending upon the violation, the department uses a continuum of sanctions to work with the offender to get the offender to comply with his/her conditions set by the court. Ultimately, if the offender is working he/she can pay the victim more than if the offender is in jail or prison.
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  • Q: How Can I Stay Informed on Changes in a Case?
  • A: To say informed of changes in an offender's case, you must call Victim Services or the assigned probation officer and request that you be notified of any future changes in the offender's case. From then on, you will be notified of future changes. Keep in mind, however, that in order for us to notify you, we must have your current address and phone number on file. Another way to stay informed is to register with PROBATION VINE.
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  • Q: What is V.I.N.E.?
  • A: Victim Information & Notification Everyday is an automated telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English and Spanish that provides basic information to crime victims. This service is the only type of it's kind at the probation level in the country! It is also FREE for crime victims and notifies registered users of changes in jail status, court events, probation status and restitution payments. This service is an important step in victims who want to gain some control back into their lives. For more information on this service, call the Victim Services Program at (915) 546-8120. To register for this service, call 1 - 877- 596-VINE
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  • Q: What is Restitution?
  • A: Restitution is the money an offender is ordered by the judge to pay to the victim of an offense for out of pocket expenses. Out of pocket expenses are costs not covered by medical insurance, auto insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or any other source. In most cases, restitution is paid on a monthly basis. The payment is calculated by dividing the amount of restitution by the number of months an offender is on probation. When the offender does make a restitution payment, the payment is mailed out by the probation department on or about the 10th day of the following month.
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  • Q: Is everyone entitled to Restitution?
  • A: No. At the time that an offender is placed on probation, the judge makes a ruling as to whether or not restitution will or will not be part of an offender's conditions of probation.
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