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RESUME OF THE WORK OF THE COMMISSION During the past year there has been no marked change in the policies or general lines of work carried on by the Commission. Its principal activities, as in previous years, have been concerned with the extension of effective probation work, especially in communities which have been without salaried officers, in keeping in as close touch as possible with the work of the officers through their monthly reports, correspondence, visits and investigations, and in the promotion of public knowledge and support of probation work by means of conferences and the distribution of literature.
More specifically the activities of the Commissions have included the following:
1. The holding of regular bi-monthly Commission meetings in various cities.
2. The collection of monthly satistical reports from all probation officers of the State, and the tabulation of the same.
3. The publication and distribution of literature on probation, including the annual report and the Manual for Probation Officers.
4. Supplying probation officers with blank forms, record books, literature and information to assist them in their work.
5. Visits of inspection and investigation of the work of courts and probation officers throughout the State.
6. Special efforts for the extension of the probation system in cities and counties.
7. Assisting in civil service examinations, both State and local for the appointment of probation officers.
8. Studying legislation affecting probation introduced or proposed.
9. The preparation and advocacy of several proposed amendments before the Constitutional Convention of the State. 10. Arranging for and conducting the following conferences : (a) The sixth annual conference of the State Associa
tion of Magistrates at Albany, January 19
and 20. (b) The fifth series of New York conferences on proba
tion, consisting of sis meetings, April 22 to
May 7. (c) The eighth annual conference of probation officers
at Albany, November 14–16.
INVESTIGATION AND EXTENSION WORK Probably the most important work of the Commission is that of visiting and investigating the work of probation officers throughout the State. As far as its small staff has allowed, the Commission has endeavored to keep in as close touch as possible with the probation officers, especially in the larger cities, by means of visits of inspections and investigations, by its Secretary and Assistant Secretary. A total of 101 visits of inspection of courts and pro bation offices have been made during the past year. Most of the cities and the majority of the counties were visited, many visits being made in the larger cities. In twelve cases a thorough investigation and report was made.
Directly connected with the work of investigation are the efforts made each year to secure the extension of the system and the appointment of new officers. There are still many localities in the State where effective probation has not been established. The Commission endeavors to select those cities or counties where the greatest need exists and to make a special effort to see that the need is provided for. After canvassing the situation through an investigation of the work of the courts and interviews with public officials and leading citizens, a hearing is arranged before the board of supervisors, if a county probation officer is sought, or before the city council to secure city officers. The hearing is followed up by efforts to secure the necessary appropriation to start probation work. Special efforts to secure the appointment of county probation officers were carried on last year in the counties of Vassan. Orange, Westchester, Chemung, Orleans, Seneca, Delaware for the Court of General Sessions of New York city and for the County Courts of Kings, Queens and Richmond. Successful efforts of this character were carried on in the cities of Buffalo and New York. Hearings, addressed by a representative of the Commission, were held before the county board of supervisors in the counties of Steuben, Orange, Westchester, Orleans, Seneca and Delaware, and before city boards in Buffalo and New York. We hare also ioined in efforts to secure more adequate salaries for probation officers. Under the heading “Local Developments Throughout the State,” some account of these special efforts and the results obtained is included.
PUBLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF LITERATURE The Commission acts as a clearing house for information on probation work. Many inquiries are answered and the reports and other publications of the Commission, including the Manual for Probation Officers, are sent out upon request. Probation officers and other persons desiring to become such, judges and others connected with the work of the courts received literature. Three thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight packages of literature were sent out during the year.
The Eighth Annual Report of the Commission was published in September and about two thousand copies were sent out throughout the State. It has always been the effort of the Commission to make the report of practical and educational value, containing as it does the proceedings of conferences and other general matter on probation.
In addition to the annual report, the minutes of its meetings, programs of conferences, etc., the Commission has published the following pamphlets during the year:
“ Children's Court Problems,” an address delivered at the State Conference of Magistrates, by Justice Benjamin J. Shove.
“Reorganization of the Courts of Limited Jurisdiction,” report of the Committee on Constitutional Convention of the State Association of Magistrates.
“Effective Probation ; Its Place in the Treatment of Crime,” address at the State Conference of Probation Officers by Governor Charles S. Whitman.
A Brief submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States regarding the suspension of sentence and the use of probation in the United States District Courts.
In addition to the above, we have distributed the following:
“ The Probation Officer at Work,” published by the School of Philanthropy, New York city, by Henry W. Thurston.
“Adult Probation and Parole," published by the National Conference of Charities and Correction, by Frank E. Wade.
FORMS FOR PROBATION OFFICERS The Commission has continued its policy of distributing a full set of forms for probation officers' records. Many of the forms have been revised and republished during the past year. An effort is made to incorporate the latest and best ideas on the subject, forms being secured for comparison from courts in all parts of the country. During the year 66,479 copies of forms were sent out for the use of probation officers in the State. While this distribution entails much work and expense, we believe it is of great va'ue in bringing about thorough record keeping and a measure of uniformity in the State. It is especially helpful to be able to supply to newly appointed probation officers who often begin their work without any previous knowledge of the same and without any office equipment, a complete set for starting their work.
OFFICE AND STATISTICAL WORK Monthly statistical reports have been received from all probation officers throughout the State, as has been done since the Commission was established. All facts appearing on these reports are carefully tabulated and the results appear in this report. A valuable feature of these reports added during the past year is the receiving of reports from each officer on his home visits and in regard to parole cases under his supervision. A separate report is also received upon cases of children under supervision and informal probation.
By means of these regular reports and much correspondence with probation officers, as well as by visits, the Commission endeavors to keep informed as to the work of the officers in all parts of the State that it may know the results, needs, special deficiencies and excellencies of the work being carried on.
A total of 14,947 pieces of mail were sent out by the Commission during the year, of which approximately 3,942 were signed letters; 3,891 were ciruclar letters; 3,788 packages of literature; 2,071 programs of conferences, and 1,255 blank reports.
THE STATE CONFERENCE OF PROBATION OFFICERS Each year for the past eight years, the Commission has called together the probation officers of the State and others to attend a conference to discuss probation problems and to hear addresses apon various phases of the work. This annual conference has become an institution in the State. It promotes mutual acquaintance among the officers, and mutual exchange of views and experiences. It has in this way added much to the development of effective probation and to the co-operation of the probation officers.
The eighth annual conference was held in the Education Building, Albany, on November 14, 15 and 16, 1915. Over one hundred persons registered as delegates to the conference, fifty-five of whom were probation officers from all parts of the State. Many of the probation officers attended the conference at their own expense. The Commission has each year endeavored to secure the sending of probation officers to the annual conference at the expense of the cities or counties for which they serve. As the conference undoubtedly makes the officers more efficient, and better equipped to cope with their daily problems, attendance upon the conference should be considered one of their most necessary expenditures.
The conference consisted of three sessions given over to formal addresses by judges and authorities upon the subject of probation work. Among others, the conference was honored by the presence of Governor Charles S. Whitman, whose able address upon the subject, “ Effective Probation; Its Place in the Treatment of Crime,” will be found published in full in the proceedings which follow. There were held also three sessions given over entirely to informal round-table discussions. The proceedings of the meeting will be found in Appendix D of this report.
NEW YORK CITY CONFERENCES ON PROBATION For the past five years, the Commission has co-operated with the judges and probation officers of New York city in conducting a series of evening conferences on probation, especially for the probation officers of the city. A joint committee consisting of probation officers from the various courts met with representatives of the Commission and made arrangements for the fifth annual series. The meetings were held in the City Hall on Thursday and Friday evenings from April 22 to May 7, 1915. The attendance was made up largely of probation officers and others engaged in related lines of work. Most of the meetings were given over to general discussion which was very practical and animated. In New York city there are varying methods and ideas in vogue in the probation work of the different courts. The bringing together