West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections

Director Magdalena Morales-Aina

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

West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department

  • History
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  • West Texas Community Supervision & Corrections Department
  • Chiefs/Directors
  • Dr. Frank Lozito, 1971-1990
  • Stephen L. Enders, 1990-2011
  • Magdalena Morales-Aina, 2011-Present
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  • 1971 - Establishment of the West Texas Regional Adult Probation Department, Frank Lozito-Chief.
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  • 1978 - The first Court Residential Treatment Center (CRTC) in Texas opens its doors in El Paso providing placement for eighty (80) probationers with alcohol or chemical abuse problems
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  • 1984 - The Restitution Center opens offering a second community corrections facility in the community. It is now known as the Community Intervention Center.
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  • 1990 - Stephen L. Enders, appointed Director of the Department.
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  • 1990 - 71st legislature changes adult probation to community supervision; Adult Probation Department is changed to Community Supervision and Corrections Department (CSCD); Probation Officers become Community Supervision Officers. The Department's formal name changes to West Texas Community Supervision & Corrections Department. The "Chief Probation Officer" becomes known as the "Director of the Department".
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  • 1992 - Intermediate Sanction Treatment Facility opens and operates under a contract with a private security provider. The ISTF provides a "medium security" environment for fifty (50) males.
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  • 2005 - Restitution Center becomes the Community Intervention Center (CIC). After a public hearing, the CRTC and CIC open to Title V offenders enabling treatment for DWI and domestic violence probationers.
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  • The West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department has the responsibility of providing community supervision services to eighteen (18) District Courts, seven (7) County Courts-at-law, the Jail Magistrate Court, and two (2) Criminal Law Magistrates. This includes the counties of El Paso, Culberson, and Hudspeth, encompassing a geographic area of more than 9,400 square miles and an offender population of approximately 15,000.
  • Probation History in the Texas
  • -1913-Creation of Texas adult probation through the Suspended Sentence Act.
  • -1947-Texas Adult Probation and Parole Law supplanted the Suspended Sentence Act, placed adult probation responsibility with the State Board of Pardons and Parole, provided for the first hiring of probation officers by the judiciary, designated a ten-year limit for felony probation, established basic conditions, and defined early termination procedures.
  • -1957-Probation and parole systems were separated with probation placed under county jurisdiction.
  • -1977-Texas Legislature established the Texas Adult Probation Commission (TAPC) to oversee the statewide adult probation system.
  • -1985-Adult probation departments began to expand upon their traditional responsibilities in pursuit of prison diversions.
  • -1989-71st Legislature formed the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), consolidating the state criminal justice system.  Legislature directive changed "adult probation" to "community supervision".   Mandated training and certification of community supervision officers.
  • In 1913 Texas began to permit those offenders convicted of less serious crimes to serve their sentences in the community rather than in prison. Local judges and community officials managed this probation process until the Texas Legislature created the Texas Adult Probation Commission (TAPC) in 1977. This agency's job was to apply common standards across the state and to distribute state funds to the local probation offices.

  • In 1989 the Texas Legislature brought about a more cohesive criminal justice system by

    consolidating three agencies into one, now known as the Texas Department of Criminal

    Justice (TDCJ). The TAPC became the Community Justice Assistance Division, and the

    official terminology changed from adult probation to community supervision; the Department of Corrections became the prison (TDCJ-CID) system, and a section of the Board of Pardons

    and Paroles became the Pardons and Paroles Division.

  • The Legislature took two further actions. It created the Judicial Advisory Council (JAC), a group of judges and interested citizens who advise the TDCJ-CJAD director and the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on matters of interest to the judiciary. And, the Legislature required the state's local judicial districts to create community justice councils and community justice plans.

  • Probation History in the U.S.
  • The concept of probation, from the Latin word probatio - meaning testing period - has historical roots in the practice of judicial reprieve. In English Common Law the Courts could temporarily suspensed the execution of a sentence to allow the defendant to appeal to the Crown for a pardon.
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  • The origins of probation can be traced to English criminal law of the Middle Ages. Harsh punishments were imposed on adults and children alike for offenses that were not always if a serious nature. Sentences such as branding, flogging, mutilation and execution were common. During the time of King Henry VIII, for instance, no less than 200 crimes were punishable by death, many of which were minor offenses.
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  • This harshness eventually led to discontent in certain progressive segments of English society concerned with the evolution of the justice system. Slowly, yet resolutely, in an effort to mitigate these inhumane punishments, a variety of measures were devised and adopted. Royal pardons could be purchased by the accused; activist judges could refrain from applying statuses or could opt for a lenient interpretation of them; stolen property could be devalued by the court so that offenders could be charged with a lesser crime. Also, benefit of clergy, judicial reprieve, sanctuary, and abjuration offered offenders a degree of protection from the enactment of harsh sentences.
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  • Eventually, the courts began the practice of "binding over for good behavior," a form of temporary release during which offenders could take measures to secure pardons or lesser sentences. Controversially, certain courts in due time began suspending sentences.
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  • In the United States, particularly in Massachusetts, different practices were being developed. "Security for good behavior," also known as good aberrance, was much like modern bail: the accused paid a fee as collateral for good behavior. Filing was also practiced in cases that did not demand an immediate sentence. Using this procedure, indictments were "laid on file" or held in abeyance. To mitigate unreasonable mandatory penalties, judges often granted a motion to quash based upon minor technicalities or errors in the proceedings. Although these American practices were genuine precursors to probation, it is the early use of recognizance and suspended sentence that are directly related to modern probation.
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  • Two names are most closely associated with the founding of probation: Matthew Davenport Hill, an 18th century English barrister and judge, and John Augustus, a 19th Century Boston boot-maker.
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  • As a young professional in England, Hill had witnessed the sentencing of youthful offenders to one-day terms on the condition that they be returned to a parent or guardian who would closely supervise them. When he eventually became the Recorder of Birmingham, a judicial post, he used a similar practice for individuals who did not seem hopelessly corrupt. If offenders demonstrated a promise for rehabilitation, they were placed in the hands of generous guardians who willingly took charge of them. Hill had police officers pay periodic visits to these guardians in an effort to tack the offender's progress and to keep a running account.
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  • John Augustus, the "Father of Probation," is recognized as the first true probation officer. Augustus was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, in 1785.
  • John Augustus, a Boston cobbler, is credited as the "Father of Probation." In 1841 he persuaded the Boston Police Court to release an adult drunkard into his custody rather than sending him to prison -- the prevalent means of dealing with law violations at that time. His efforts at reforming his first charge were successful, and he soon convinced the court to release other offenders to his supervision. However, this first unofficial probation officer did not perform his altruistic work without controversy. His efforts actually were resisted by police, court clerks, and turnkeys who were paid only when offenders were incarcerated (Klein, 1997). 

  • In 1843, Augustus broadened his efforts to children when he took responsibility for two girls, ages eight and ten, and an 11-year-old boy, all of whom had been accused of stealing. By 1846, he had taken on the supervision of about 30 children ranging from nine to 16 years old (Binder, Geis, & Bruce, 1997). In his own words he describes his ongoing work with children before the court:

  • In 1847, I bailed nineteen boys, from seven to fifteen years of age, and in bailing them it was understood, and agreed by the court, that their cases should be continued from term to term for several months, as a season of probation; thus each month at the calling of the docket, I would appear in court, make my report, and thus the cases would pass on for five or six months. At the expiration of this term, twelve of the boys were brought into court at one time, and the scene formed a striking and highly pleasing contrast with their appearance when first arraigned. The judge expressed much pleasure as well as surprise, at their appearance, and remarked, that the object of the law had been accomplished, and expressed his cordial approval of my plan to save and reform. Seven of the number were too poor to pay a fine, although the court fixed the amount at ten cents each, and of course I paid it for them; the parents of the other boys were able to pay the cost, and thus the penalty of the law was answered. The sequel thus far shows, that not one of this number has proved false to the promises of reform they made while on probation. This incident proved conclusively, that this class of boys could be saved from crime and punishment, by the plan which I had marked out, and this was admitted by the judges in both courts.(John Augustus, 1852, p. 34).

  • By Augustus' (1852) own account, he bailed "eleven hundred persons, both male and female." He also recounted that he had secured the release by the courts of many children:

    . . .of this number one hundred and sixteen were boys under sixteen years of age; eighty-seven were under the age of fourteen; twenty-seven were under twelve years, and four were only seven years old. Of this number only twelve were incorrigible,. . . I have always endeavored to send these persons to school, or some place of employment, and but two, to my knowledge, have stolen since I bailed them, and this shows that nine out of ten have behaved well. . . (pp. 96-97).

  • By 1869, the Massachusetts legislature required a state agent to be present if court actions might result in the placement of a child in a reformatory, thus providing a model for modern caseworkers. The agents were to search for other placement, protect the child's interests, investigate the case before trial, and supervise the plan for the child after disposition. Massachusetts passed the first probation statute in 1878 mandating an official State probation system with salaried probation officers (National Center for Juvenile Justice [NCJJ], 1991). Other states quickly followed suit (NCJJ, 1991):

  • by 1900, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, and Illinois passed probation laws;

  • by 1910, 32 more states passed legislation establishing juvenile probation

  • by 1930, juvenile probation was legislated in every state except Wyoming

  • Today, probation is authorized in all states and is an integral part of the juvenile justice system. Many foreign nations also have adopted approaches based on the United States prototype.

  • REFERENCES

  • Augustus, J. (1852). A report of the labors of John Augustus. Boston: Wright & Hasty, Printers. (Republished in 1984 by the American Probation and Parole Association, Lexington, KY.)

    Binder, A., Geis, G., & Bruce, D. D. (1997). Juvenile delinquency: Historical, cultural and legal perspectives. Cincinnati, OH: Anderson Publishing, Co.

    Klein, A. R. (1997). Alternative sentencing, intermediate sanctions and probation. Cincinnati, OH; Anderson Publishing Co.

    National Center for Juvenile Justice. (1991). Desktop guide to good juvenile probation practice. Pittsburgh, PA: Author.

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  • Many features of the community supervision system were developed during this period. Augustus selected for supervision men who were first offenders. He made a thorough examination of each individual's history. The same is done today through pre-sentence investigations. Offenders under Augustus' supervision were either sent to school or supplied with honest work. He also made impartial reports to the court and maintained a careful register of all his cases. Each of these things is to this day, part of the procedure of the community supervision office. He opened the door to a new concept of helping offenders rather than merely punishing them.
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  • Durning the 1920s through the 1950s, the major developments in the field of psychology led probation officers to shift their emphasis from moral leadership to therapeutic counseling. This shift brought three important changes. First, the officer no longer primarily acted as a community supervisor charged with enforcing a particular morality. Second, the officer became more of a clinical social worker whose goal was to help the offender solve psychological and social problems. Third, the offender was expected to become actively involved in the treatment. The pursuit of rehabilitation as the primary goal of probation gave the officer extensive discretion in defining and treating the offender's problems. Officers used their judgment to evaluate each offender and develop a treatment approach to the personal problems that presumably had led to crime.
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  • During the 1960s, major social changes swept across the United States. These changes also affected the field of community corrections. Rather than counseling offenders, probation officers provided them with concrete social services such as assistance with employment, housing, finances, and education. This emphasis on reintegrating offenders and remedying the social problems they faced was consistent with federal efforts to wage a "war on poverty." Instead of being a counselor or therapist, the probation officer served as an advocate, dealing with private and public institutions on the offender's behalf.
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  • In the late 1970s the orientation of probation changed again as the goals of rehabilitation and reintegration gave way to "risk management." This approach, still dominant today, seeks to minimize the probability that an offender will commit a new offense. Risk management reflects two basic goals. First, in accord with the deserved-punishment ideal, the punishment should fit the offense, and correctional intervention should neither raise nor lower the level of punishment. Second, according to the community protection criterion, the amount and type of supervision are determined according to the risk that the probationer will return to a life out of compliance with the law.
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  • A community-based correction is recognized as having the greatest potential for the effective rehabilitation of the offender and for the control of crime. The causes of crime are many and some of them lie within the community. Some offenders need to be sent to prison but the majority can be rehabilitated in the community. When an offender is found or pleads guilty and is placed on community supervision by the Judge, he remains in the community, living at home if possible, and carries out his normal daily activities under the supervision of a Supervision Officer rather than sending him to prison. If the offender does not abide by the rules the Judge prescribes, he may go to jail or prison to serve his sentence.
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  • The advantages of community supervision over imprisonment are many. It is a much less expensive method of dealing with the offender. The cost of keeping a person in prison for one year is more than five times the cost of maintaining them on community supervision, and this does not include wages and taxes lost, or the cost of welfare to support a family when it has lost its income. A person on community supervision is better able to make restitution to the victim and pay court costs than a person in prison. In addition, they pay something back to the community through community service restitution. Rehabilitation is more effective when the offenders do not lose their contacts with the community.
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  • The community-based approach views the offender as an individual with difficulties who lives and works in the community. If he has an alcohol problem, then that must be dealt with. If he cannot hold a job, because of poor job skills, or lack of motivation, that problem must be addressed. Supervision officers work with probationers as individuals with individual problems. Resources within the department are used where available. Job placement and educational opportunities are provided through in-house specialists. Counseling and psychological assessments are also available. There are times, however, where other types of professional assistance are needed. Other community agencies, with their own specialties, are often utilized on a referral basis. A full range of community resources is available to the supervision officers as they undertake their job. It is the purpose of community supervision to use the full capabilities of the community in approaching the task of returning the offender to the community as a productive individual.
  • Read further to learn more about the history of probation:

  • "Probation in the United States" Part One. Joan Petersilia. Perspectives (Spring 1998): 30-41.
    Part one examines the history of probation and modern sentencing practices for adult and juveniles. It also looks at the characteristics of the average person on probation.

  • "Probation in the United States" Part Two. Joan Petersilia. Perspectives (Summer 1998): 42-49. Part two examines whether probation works and how to revive it. The article also includes a review of intermediate sanctions options.