At the beginning of April, there were about 43,000 offenders under community supervision at the provincial level in Ontario, which includes people on probation, parole and conditional sentences. This far outstrips the 7,850 inmates in custody.
Probation is a court order that allows an offender to remain in the community, subject to certain conditions. These can include things like meeting regularly with a probation officer, attending rehabilitation programs, obeying a curfew, or not possessing any weapons.
But probation officers report that they aren’t out in the community, monitoring whether offenders are abiding by those conditions.
“There is an assumption by both the judiciary and the public that… when an offender is placed on a supervision order with conditions to be in their residence, to adhere to conditions such as not to possess internet, computer, not to have drugs, alcohol, that someone in some law enforcement capacity is actually checking on them,” said Scott McIntyre, a probation and parole representative for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union.
“That’s the problem, no one is checking,” said Sarah – a probation officer whose identity Global News agreed to conceal to protect her job.
She wants to go out to visit offenders, but a colleague discouraged her. “I was told we don’t do home visits, flat out.”