A Brief History of Monroe County Probation

100 Years of Service

The Monroe County Probation Department was created on March 31, 1901. County Judge Arthur Sutherland had concluded that court oversight would save many offenders and change their lives for the better. In addition, the judges sought a process whereby intimate knowledge of the offender would be known prior to sentencing.

Since the judges had neither the time nor facilities to do this important work, a Probation Agency was created and a Probation Officer appointed—the first in New York State.

Alfred Masters was Monroe County’s first Probation Officer and Chief, serving from 1901 until 1929. Mr. Masters was a Civil War Veteran who worked as a court attendant with the Commissioner of Jurors before being appointed Probation Officer by Judge Sutherland.

The Adult Probation Department was originally located on the main floor of the County Court House—now known and the County Office Building at 39 W. Main St.—with five private offices for consultation. Currently, probation services are delivered from four buildings located in the downtown area and numerous neighborhood off-site locations.

Children’s Court was implemented in 1912 to deal with delinquent and neglected children, with new laws also establishing a Detention Center, a Juvenile Probation Agency and a Law Guardian System.

During the 1920s, Monroe County Probation supervised approximately 600 individuals—more than 12,000 cases were handled in 2000!

From the staffing level of one in 1901, the profession has grown to its current level of 234.

The Office of Probation—Community Corrections provides protection to our community through supervision of offenders, investigations for the courts and through numerous creative programs. Victims are served through restitution and applications for orders of protection, and many families benefit from extensive family court diversion programs.

The Office provides individual and group counseling, educational programs, case management and extensive fieldwork including home visits and surveillance. Special teams concentrate on DWI Offenders, Sex Offenders and those with significant substance abuse or mental health problems. Domestic Violence, Electronic Monitoring and Warrant Officers enhance the credibility of probation services through intervention efforts aimed at preventing new crimes. Aftercare Officers supervise juveniles returning to our community after placement periods, increasing opportunities for a successful transition.

In response to jail overcrowding, Monroe County Probation was the first in New York to develop a variety of special programs to provide intensive supervision services as an alternative to incarceration. Today, the Office provides Felony & Misdemeanor Intensive Supervision, Community Service Sentencing, and a formal Alternatives To Incarceration Program.

While the oldest probation agency in New York State, and the most often utilized sentencing option in Monroe County, the Office of Probation—Community Corrections continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of the community. Probation has grown in recognition and stature as an integral part of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Its dedicated staff will continue to provide quality services to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens while providing direct public protection to our neighborhoods.