What Is Probation?

The ultimate goal of probation supervision is to promote public safety and reduce recidivism through rehabilitation and reintegration of the offender into society.

Each county in New York State supports a probation department as a state mandated service by New York State Law that provides for the establishment of County Probation Departments. Though probation departments often provide a wide array of supervision programs, the primary functions are as follows.


Probation officers complete pre-plea, pre-sentence, and pre-dispositional investigations in an effort to aid the judiciary in making decisions regarding sentences / dispositions. These reports include among other things, written documentation of an individual's criminal and social history and focuses on the defendant's recidivism risk factors.


The Probation Department supervises those individuals who have been sentenced to probation in both criminal and family court. The major objective of community corrections supervision is to protect the community from potential future victimization. A probation officer identifies areas of need for the offender to focus on by referrals to treatment agencies in an attempt to ameliorate the areas that lead to recidivism.

According to the U.S. bureau of justice statics, in 2006, over 5 million adult men and women were under probation or parole supervision.  

New York State supervises approximately 130,000 offenders under probation supervision.

Family Court Services

Intake Services are those services provided by the probation department which include assisting the public in the preparation of Family Offense petitions. The intake officer will provide victim services in the form of a referral to Madison County Victims of Violence, explain the Family Court process, and answer any questions that arise during the interview. 

The probation department also provides the opportunity for attempted adjustments to persons alleged to be juvenile delinquents.