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Letter: Keep oversight of probationers

Alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet. (July 6, 2011)

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

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.

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.