Depositions expected in probation staffing lawsuit

A 2010 lawsuit alleging unsafe staffing levels within the Sacramento County Probation Department could see depositions this month, said Greg Stuber, president of the Sacramento County Probation Association.

The association and Crime Victims United of California filed the lawsuit against the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors four years ago this May. Plaintiffs claim the county “so drastically” reduced funding for the department that it’s unable to adequately supervise tens of thousands of adult probationers exiting custody or serving out alternative sentences.

“We can’t fulfill our mandated court orders,” Stuber told SN&R of the public safety cuts. He said the department is down 150 probation officers from 2009, when the recession hit.

The roughly 23,000 adult probationers who are here now are largely unsupervised, at about a 9 percent rate. Probation officials acknowledge that the majority of these probationers are low-risk offenders. Recent scholarly reports say supervision of low-risk offenders can actually increase recidivism.

Stuber hopes as the economy turns that the county will allocate more funds to probation, but said the lawsuit remains “alive.”

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