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Probation FAQ

Q. What is Probation?

A. Probation is the primary criminal sanction for the largest number of convicted offenders in the United States.  As a sentencing option imposed by the court, a term of probation permits offenders to live and work in the community, support their families, receive rehabilitative services and make restitution to the victims of their crimes.  It also addresses juvenile crime with early intervention for youth at risk.

If you are interested in learning about Parole, a state, not county function, visit their website at:

Q. Is Probation the same as Parole?

A. No. Probation is an alternative to incarceration for selected defendants, although a short period jail time may be included at the beginning of the sentence. Parole is an early release of a prisoner before the end of a New York State Prison sentence. In New York State, Probation is operated by County Government and Parole is operated by the State. You will find a link to the NYS Parole web site on our "Links" page.

Q. Is Probation just a slap on the wrist?

A. No! Individuals sentenced to (adults) or placed on (juveniles) probation must obey the law, attend school or be suitably employed, report to the Probation Officer as directed and allow Probation Officers to visit their homes, pay required restitution fees or complete community services.  Treatment is required for those with a history of drug, alcohol, sexual abuse or psychiatric/psychological problems. In fact, many adult offenders choose to be incarcerated rather than deal with probation requirements and restrictions.

Q. Who is on Probation in St. Lawrence County?

A. In Criminal Court, the most common offenses committed by probationers are:

  • Driving While Intoxicated/Aggravated Unlicensed Operation
  • Larceny
  • Burglary/Trespass
  • Drugs (Possession/Sales)
  • Sex Offenses
  • Criminal Mischief
  • Assault (Including Domestic Violence)
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child
  • Forgery
  • Arson

In Family Court, adults are placed on probation for committing acts of Domestic Violence. Juveniles are placed on probation for committing an offense if committed by an adult would constitute a crime or after being found to be a person in Need of Supervision due to a pattern of ungovernable behavior.

Q. What is Restitution?

A. Restitution is monetary compensation paid to victims to reimburse them for loss, damage or injury as the result of a criminal act.  In St. Lawrence County the Probation Department is the designated collection/disbursement agency for restitution collected not only from probationers under our supervision but from inmates in both local and state penitentiaries and from parolees.

Q. Are there Sex Offenders on Probation?

A. Yes. In St. Lawrence County convicted sex offenders are sentenced to a term of probation.  The St. Lawrence County Probation Department developed a sex offender program that offers intensive supervision coupled with offense-specific treatment in an attempt to maximize community safety.
For further information on keeping your family safe, or to obtain a list of registered sex offender, visit:

Q. Can Probation help if...

I am having a problem with the behavior of my adolescent child?


The Probation Department will provided PINS diversion services. PINS stands for Person In Need Of Supervision (PINS): A person under age 18 who does not attend school, or who is incorrigible, ungovernable, habitually disobedient and beyond the lawful control of a parent or other lawful authority, or who unlawfully possesses marijuana, and who is in need of supervision. The diversion services is a process, which occurs before a PINS petition is filed, in which the potential respondent and a parent or guardian must meet with a probation officer in an attempt to resolve the case without going to court. This process includes holding at least one conference with the juvenile and the individual or organization seeking to file a petition. If this process reveals that the juvenile requires treatment or other services, a referral will be made and a plan developed to assist the juvenile with accessing and receiving the services needed to amend his or her behavior. Participation in Diversion Services by the juvenile is voluntary.

Q. What happens if a probationer violates the terms of probation?

The Probation Officer has several options when the Orders and Conditions of Probation are not adhered to: a series of graduated sanctions can be imposed (i.e.: more frequent contact with the Probation Officer, referrals for needed services) or the case can be returned to court.  If the probationer is found to have violated probation the Judge may add time to the sentence, impose additional conditions or revoke the probation and impose a sentence of incarceration (adults) or placement in a group home or residential treatment facility (juveniles).

Q. How do I become a Probation Officer?

A. Probation Officers are college graduates appointed from a certified list composed of candidates who successfully passed the NYS Probation Officer Civil Service Exam.

Q. Does Probation help probationers obtain employment?

The St. Lawrence County Probation Department recognizes the importance of sustained employment for individuals under community supervision. Employment provides individuals a means to self-sufficiency and the ability to support their families, as well as the capacity to structure their time in positive ways. Probation also understands the needs of area employers and their ability to ask questions of probation officers about work schedules and other work environment related issues. Accordingly, the St. Lawrence County Probation Department has designated a single point of contact or Probation Employment Liaison officer to communicate with area employers. Please feel free to contact Probation Officer Brett Green at 315-379-2230 if you are an area employer who has any general questions about probation conditions relating to employment, employment opportunities for individuals on probation, or if you have any other employment related questions or concerns.