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State Cuts 66 Probation Officers

January 16th, 2009 by flanews

The state now has fewer people to monitor sex offenders, drug dealers and other felons walking the streets on probation. The Department of Corrections is laying off 66 probation officers to save money. As Whitney Ray tells us, the lay offs are raising concerns about public safety.

Hear it Here: State Cuts 66 Probation Officers

Sixty-six state probation officers are joining the ranks of the unemployed. The Department of Corrections let the officers go, just one day after lawmakers passed a budget deficit package. A spokesman for the Florida Police Benevolent Association says having fewer probation officers could affect public safety.

These are the guys out there doing the work. Theyre checking on the offenders and making sure theyre not doing drugs, going to work, not doing other crimes, said Matt Puckett, a spokesman for the Florida PBA.

Before the cuts each probation officer was responsible for 84 felons. For those probation officers lucky enough to have kept their jobs, theyll now have a much larger case load.

The remaining 2,200 officers will now have to take on nine extra cases. The Department of Corrections said there simply wasnt anything else left to cut.

Unfortunately we are staff intensive, so when it gets down to it we still have to make cuts to people, said Gretl Plessinger.

Senate Minority leader Al Lawson wants the governor to call lawmakers back to Tallahassee.

That 66 probation officers are going to be laid off is unacceptable, said Lawson.

Lawson says tax loopholes like those on bottled water and dry-cleaning should be eliminated to restore the positions. Most of the probation officers who lost their jobs had been with the department for less than a year.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Criminal Justice, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Taxes | No Comments »

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