Thanks to a grant, Yolo County will have the resources it needs to supervise its sex offenders on probation.
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the Yolo County Board of Supervisors accepted $259,075 from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Violence Against Women Recovery Act. The funding is available from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 20, 2010, and will provide increased community supervision of offenders convicted of sexual assault in Yolo County. The grant will also increase support for their victims.
The grant will increase the Probation Office’s budget by the same $259,075 for this period. An additional 25 percent match of $86,358 will come from salaries, benefits and other indirect costs.
As a result, three deputy officer positions will be protected from lay-off or elimination. These officers will supervise probationers convicted of sexual assault and support their victims.
“We try to do some outreach [for victims] and make sure they are engaged in available local services,” said Yolo County interim chief probation officer Marjorie Rist. “We track them down, make sure they know whether the offender is in the community or not.”
There are currently 3,400 adults on probation in Yolo County, which is 1.7 percent of the population. Eighty-five of these inidviduals were convicted of sexual assault. This statistic is higher than other counties of similar population size. Yolo County has 29 percent more sex offenders on probation than the next largest county, according to a 2008 report by the Chief Probation Officers of California.
“Despite this high caseload, Yolo has very few supervision resources,” the staff report said.
Without the grant, there would only be one officer to supervise approximately 100 offenders.
“[The funding] is capping caseloads at 35 per officer and that is considered intensive supervision,” Rist said.
The grant money will increase the Probation Budget by $195,643 for the 2009-10 budget.
POOJA KUMAR can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.