The Statewide Probation Act of 1956 created probation as a statutory alternative to incarceration. Originally, this Act was interpreted to require one officer in every judicial circuit to assist the judge. Now probation is recognized as a critical component of the correctional system and it has become the most frequently used sentencing option.
Probation officers are still assigned in each of the 49 judicial circuits. They are present in the courtroom, and prepare some of the legal documents required as a part of the sentencing and revocation processes.
Judges of Superior Courts depend on probation officers to provide information and, in many cases, make recommendations in the disposition of criminal actions. Officers also supervise probationers according to the court ordered conditions and the risk posed to public safety, providing accurate documentation and feedback to the court as necessary.