When a person commits a crime, the judge may opt to place her on probation. The defendant will be placed on a probation caseload dependent upon the type of offense she has committed. During the probation grant, she may be moved to a different caseload that better suits her needs should that be determined by the court. Failure to comply with probation terms will result in the defendant's return to court.
Three levels of standard probation include minimum, medium and maximum. Minimum level probationers must report to their probation officers once every three months; medium level probationers report once a month; and maximum level defendants report twice a month. According to information obtained from the Cook County probation department, about 90 percent of defendants are placed on standard probation.
Some of the terms of standard probation include but are not limited to the following: report to probation officer as directed; do not possess a weapon; do not move or leave the state without court permission; and do not use or sell illegal drugs. Additional specialized terms may include: pay court fees; complete community service and drug treatment; submit to drug testing or home confinement/curfews; mental health counseling and educational programs.
Intensive Probation is a prison diversion program tailored to meet the needs of high-risk or violent offenders. In addition to many of the same standard probation terms outlines, intensive probation supervision requires that defendants be subjected to a a program similar to home arrest. More frequent reporting, additional community service and random home visits are part of the enhanced sanctions granted by the courts.
Defendants undergo a screening and intake procedure to determine their eligibility for intensive probation and willingness to comply with the program. A client will cycle through three phases lasting for a minimum of 12 months and a maximum of 24 months. After completing the final phase, the defendant will be returned to standard probation.
Specialized caseloads have certain terms that apply only to that population. These caseloads include: sex offenders, drug court, domestic violence, gang and mental health. Some of these specific terms may be as follows: do not date a woman with minor children (sex offender); complete domestic violence treatment; do not associate with other gang members; and take all medications as prescribed by physician (mental health).