As required by law, any person convicted of a crime, may face incarceration as a consequence. However, due to such high rates of crime and short supply of both space and funds within jails, the court system may utilize other options as an alternative. Probation is one such option, which allows the jail sentence to be suspended for the time being. In lieu of incarceration, the probationer is ordered to complete special conditions, as well as refraining from any criminal activity while on probation, and with the probationer paying a fee, is of minimal cost to the taxpayer. Also by placing the defendant on probation, the court has determined that he is not expected to be a threat to the public or likely to engage in further criminal activity, while also encouraging rehabilitation if necessary.
The 16th Judicial District Attorney's Misdemeanor Probation Division was created in 1992 when the Louisiana Department of Corrections served notice on the local officials that they would no longer supervise misdemeanor probationers due to a shortage of funds and personnel. As a result, any person convicted of a misdemeanor crime and then placed on probation, would then be on the honor system with no specific person to ensure that the probationer was complying with conditions of the probation. The 16th Judicial District Attorney's Misdemeanor Probation Division currently employs six adult probation officers. Additionally, there are support staff which includes one receptionist, one worthless check intake person, one data entry clerk, and one compliance officer. This department supervises and assists persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes and who have been placed on probation. The term of probation may range from 30 days to 2 years, with a suspended sentence of up to 1 year in the parish jail per offense.
The most common types of misdemeanor offenses that may result in probation are:
In addition to the general conditions of probation, the court may require the defendant to carry out other special conditions such as:
At the end of the probation period, granted that the probationer has met all of the conditions of probation, the probation officer may submit a Petition to Discharge to the judge or the probation will terminate satisfactorily on its own.
On occasion, a person may also be placed under supervision by the probation department as a condition for release on bond, which allows the person to remain out of jail until the time of their court date. This type of supervision may also have specific conditions outlined by the judge who grants the bond release. Some of these conditions may or may not include: