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who stood at the head of the eligible list. The work of this office has developed gradually. Probation has been used in all the larger courts. The Commission has sent letters and literature to all of the justices of the county and the county probation officer has visited many of them. He has published a very instructive "First Annual Report." His work is receiving public support and approval.
ORLEANS COUNTY A campaign was carried on late in the fall to secure the appointment of a county probation officer. The needs were investigated and the Secretary appeared at a hearing before the board of supervisors. No appropriation was made though there is great need of this officer. Two volunteer officers have been appointed in the city of Medina.
St. LawRENCE COUNTY Following provision by the board of supervisors for a salaried officer and an examination in which the Commission assisted, the man who stood at the head of the eligible list was appointed and began work. He has established an office in the city of Ogdensburg, and in eight months' time has received 63 persons on probation. He estimates that the use of probation has already saved the county $2,057.72. He has received cases chiefly from the higher courts and Recorder's Court of Ogdensburg. He has received general public support.
SCHOHARIE COUNTY Volunteer probation officers have been appointed by the county judge for the first time and the work has developed gradually. A salaried county probation officer should eventually result.
SENECA COUNTY An effort was made by the Commission to secure the appointment of a county probation officer. The county is entirely without probation work except a little volunteer service in the County Court and Police Court of Seneca Falls. After an investigation, a hearing was held before the board of supervisors, but no provision was made. It is expected that an officer will be provided
for next year.
STEUBEN COUNTY As a result of the strong recommendation of the county judge and Supreme Court justices, two county probation officers who have headquarters in the cities of Corning and Hornell at either end of the county were provided by the board of supervisors. A civil service examination in which the Commission assisted produced an admirable eligible list. Appointments were made from the head of the list. The Commission has endeavored to assist the new probation officers in extending their work by sending letters and literature to all of the justices of the county and in other ways. The two officers, although paid very small salaries and necessarily having other occupation, have given a great deal of time to the work and have developed it remarkably. After ten months' service they have published an admirable “Annual Report.”
The Hornell Officer at the close of the year had 55 cases in his care, largely from the higher courts and from the city of Hornell. The Corning officer had 30 cases, 14 of which were from town and village courts. Active volunteers have been secured to care for cases residing in four of the villages of the county.
The work of these officers have met with public approval so much so that after less than one year of service, their salaries have been increased. The Secretary of the Commission investigated their work and appeared before the board of supervisors asking for the salary increase.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY A strong effort was made by the Commission to establish the position of county probation officer in Westchester county, it being the largest county in the State depending entirely upon volunteer officers for work in the higher courts. The Secretary made six visits to the county. After investigating the need, he consulted with the judges and other county officials and addressed the board of supervisors. The board made provision for the new officer, granting a salary of $1,500 at the start. The Commission assisted
in the examination which resulted in the appointment of the man who stood first on the list. His work has been developing gradually and successfully. This office promises to be one of the most important and useful probation offices in the State.
HOME VISITS BY PROBATION OFFICERS One of the most important features of probation work is the visiting of the homes of probationers by probation officers. The Commission has always recommended the making of frequent home visits. There are, of course, exceptional cases where such visits are not needed and where they might even be harmful. In the great majority of cases, however, they are necessary, in addition to the weekly report to the probation office, not only for finding out the facts as to the conduct and circumstances of the probationer, but also in order to help him. In many cases, especially of children, it is important that the officer secure the continuous co-operation of the other members of the household. Probation officers frequently state that they must treat the whole family as if on probation.
Believing that a pretty accurate test of the amount of work done in probation cases could be obtained by securing from the officers a report upon home visits made in probation cases, a report has been secured during the past year from every officer monthly as to his home visits made in probation cases (exclusive of visits made in preliminary investigations before cases being placed on probation). We have found the greatest variation in the number of home visits. They range from no visits whatever to an average of 28 on each case during the year, or over two per month.
In few courts is the number of visits adequate; in many it is altogether insufficient for thorough work. In some courts the chief cause for the lack of visits is too many probation cases or the fact that the officers are required to spend much time on investigations or court duty. In others there should be more effort on the part of the officers to do effective work with their cases.
The following table shows the average number of cases throughout the year, the home visits, and the average number of visits per case for the year in the principal courts from which reports were received:
HOME VISITS BY PROBATION OFFICERS IN PROBATION CASES
ING THE YEAR ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1915
Average number of probation
Total number of home visits
Average number of
visits per case during the year
20 166 1,543
149 1,165 2,071
262 214 22 16 42 934 426 145 161 189 34 53 44 287 110 40 32
RURAL PROBATION WORK The work of the probation officers in the rural parts of the State has been extending gradually. Last year 36 counties as against 35 in 1914, used probation in the courts of one or more towns and villages. Five hundred and ten persons were placed on probation by the justices in 75 towns last year. Nearly all of this work is carried on by the salaried county probation officers who visit the towns, make investigations and supervise probation cases either directly or with the help of volunteers. The counties where this work was carried on most extensively last year were Clinton, Cortland, Dutchess, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange and Steuben. In