Intensive Probation Supervision (IPS) may be used as a direct sentencing option or may be used as a sanction as a result of a revocation or sentence modification hearing. IPS is available in all of the circuits. The program emphasizes high levels of surveillance and intervention for the purpose of influencing the offender’s thought pattern and behavior.
Critical elements of IPS supervision include mandated employment and curfew. Officers may make contact with the probationer at any time, twenty-four hours a day. House arrest may also be ordered for IPS offenders. This condition allows the offender to leave his or her home only for essential activities (e.g., work, medical attention).
Specialized Probation Supervision (SPS) is a statewide program specifically for offenders who commit sexual crimes. Each circuit has at least one officer specially trained to supervise an SPS caseload. SPS is highly restrictive and structured. Travel and computer access are often curtailed, and offenders are required to keep the assigned probation officer aware of their whereabouts and activities.
Probationers assigned to SPS are typically required to attend treatment by a certified provider. Sanctions are enforced if the probationer fails to attend and actively participate in treatment. It is the goal of Probation to protect the community from further victimization by sex offenders by maintaining specialized standards of supervision, providing support to victims, and ensuring the offenders receive the most effective treatment possible.
Working with an offender population presents special challenges for some treatment providers and not all providers are able to meet this challenge. For example, many sex offenders are court-ordered to obtain treatment but some of the local providers do not meet the high standards set by GDC for providing a treatment regimen that properly addresses the criminal justice aspects of the deviant behavior. Accordingly, the Probation Field Operations now maintains a list of treatment providers who have the appropriate credentials and have agreed to abide by conditions set forth by the state regarding the treatment of sex offenders.
Probation officers collect DNA samples from probationers convicted of certain sex crimes using a buccal swab technique. This procedure is performed by rubbing a sterile cotton swab against the inside of the probationer’s cheek. The swab is then sent in a sealed container to the crime lab at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation after documenting the testing electronically. The lab adds the sample results to its existing database of DNA to assist in identifying repeat offenders and, in some cases, eliminating suspects.
Since 1996, sex offenders have been required to register on the Sex Offender Registry maintained by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. In July 1999, Probation received the technology to send the information and a digital photograph of the offender directly from the field offices into the database. Citizens may access the database through the GBI website or links from the GDC public website. (http://services.georgia.gov/gbi/gbisor/SORSearch.jsp)
Global Positioning Monitors also play a part in enhancing the safety of the community. The purpose of the monitors is to establish the distance between probationers' residences and places where potential victims congregate. If the officers know that the offender lives close to potential victims, the officers will have the opportunity to intervene before the probationer can reoffend. In some cases, probationers are required to relocate their residences to avoid victim groups