FCAC Adopts standards for Misdemeanor Probation

February, 2016: The Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission has approved probation standards for misdemeanor probation agencies, expanding and enhancing the existing standards for pretrial agencies. The (FCAC), in collaboration with the Florida Association of Community Corrections (FACC), have worked over the past year developing standards of practice for misdemeanor probation in Florida. This workgroup consisted of pretrial and probation practitioners from across the state: Liza Maldonado and Amy Kinsey, Lee County; Jeff Kilpatrick, Alachua County, Dana McMahon, Manatee County; Don Pitman, Orange County; Isabel Perez-Morina, Miami Dade; Shirley Olson, Volusia County.

The Florida Corrections Accreditation Commission began accrediting pretrial agencies in 2008 and was seen as a means to increase judicial confidence in the use of pretrial release programs by providing standardized, accurate information for release/detention decisions. The probation community expressed an interest of being included in the accreditation process in 2014. Subsequently, standards have been developed to address the particular interests of probation agencies.

The standards are consistent with national best practices and will lead the way to establishing the most consistent and effective policy and procedures for misdemeanor probation in Florida. Accreditation is the certification by an independent reviewing authority that an entity has met specific requirements and prescribed standards. Accreditation symbolizes professionalism, excellence and competence. Since the development of the misdemeanor probation system in Florida in the 1980s, operating agencies have not had guidance or a set of consistent standards to follow other than F.S. Chapter 948 which primarily addresses felony probation and the Florida Department of Corrections. These new misdemeanor standards will aid agencies in operating consistently throughout the state.

The Commission anticipates accrediting eligible probation agencies within the next 12 months.

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