Maryland probation agents short-staffed, worried about reform

With criminal justice reform comes a chance to make changes in your life. If you are potentially going to be on parole or probation, hearing that reforms could give you a better chance of life outside prison or more freedom in a parole or probationary program would seem amazing. Unfortunately, in Maryland, probation agents are saying that there aren’t enough of them to keep up with the latest reforms.

A new law has been designed to keep nonviolent offenders out of prison completely, but that won’t be possible without the parole and probationary agents needed. There is a chronic shortage of probation agents, so there’s no one to check offenders or to file reports with the court in a timely fashion. Without enough support, the new reform, called Justice Reinvestment, will simply overwhelm the agents who are already behind due to larger-than-usual caseloads.

Right now, some agents argue that secretarial roles haven’t been filled in their offices, forcing them to do desk work when they should be working with those on probation or parole. It’s been reported that around 10 percent of all probation agent jobs are also vacant, showing just how short-staffed the state is. It’s expected that at least 60 new workers will start in the state’s probation academy for training in August, and more will be added in October as needed.

What does this mean for you? In the future, if you’re arrested for a nonviolent offense, you’ll be less likely to go to prison and more likely to go through rehabilitation and probation, which helps you avoid missing out on your personal life.