Letter: Keep oversight of probationers

Alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet. (July 6, 2011)

Alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet. (July 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

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I just read "Nassau probation: Limits on monitoring" [News, Oct. 1]. To condone mail and telephone reporting by probationers is unthinkable and borders on the irresponsible. What's next? Placing kiosks in the community where all a probationer has to do is periodically punch a few buttons? If so, then why have a probation department at all?

A probation officer must have at least a bachelor's degree, with an emphasis on social services, and must undergo continual on-the-job training. An officer works with the probationer as well as his or her family, school and employers.

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Persons sentenced to probation often have many deficits and shortcomings. The probation officer has three to five years to effect positive change. The ultimate goal is to make the probationer a better person and less of a threat to society.

God help us all if there is any further lessening of contact with the probationer.

V. Paul Pennetti, Port Washington

Editor's note: The writer is a 44-year retired veteran of the Nassau County Department of Probation, where he held the post of deputy probation director.

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