Probation cuts could mean more felons unsupervised

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Over $10 million in cuts needed

PHOENIX - The County Board of Supervisors is looking to cut more than $10 million from adult and juvenile probation in order to make up a budget shortfall of nearly $30 million.

The county attorney's office has come up with a program which means more felons may get unsupervised probation. County officials stress this program will not endanger the public.

Only those convicted of non-violent lower-level felonies qualify for the program. Those who commit crimes do not usually care if the economy is in a good state or not. It also does not matter to them what impact their arrest will have on an already burdened criminal justice system.

That is a big reason why the county attorney's office has come up with a new program which means more felons could be sentenced to unsupervised probation.

People convicted of crimes such as DUI or minor drug possession will be eligible for the program. Typically they are sentenced to probation anyway. The difference now is they will not be subject to a weekly face to face meeting with their probation officer.

Violent offenders such as child molesters, robbery suspects and killers, of course, will not be eligible for the program. Probationers will be monitored so it is not as if they are not being punished.

The county attorney estimates the program will save more than $5 million. County officials say there probably will be layoffs