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Prop 47 Drives Down Number of People On Probation In Fresno County

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There are roughly 1,000 fewer people in Fresno County who are on Felony probation. The County Probation Chief says that is due to changes brought about by Proposition 47.

By turning some felonies, especially drug convictions, into misdemeanors there are now only about 8,000 people under county supervision compared to 9,000 a year ago according to Probation Chief Rick Chavez.

Chavez says it is not necessarily a bad thing that fewer people are on probation as long as people who are now convicted of misdemeanors access treatment for addiction.

“Hopefully addressing this large population that are now misdemeanors, which was really the underlying basis for prop 47, I think we can impact public safety and get people the help they need,” Chavez said.

Chavez says even with the decreased caseload he is asking for more support for his department because his roughly 70 officers are still very overworked.

At the same time, Chavez says he has had difficulty filling dozens of existing vacancy because salary and benefits are not competitive with the state or surrounding counties.

Jeffrey Hess is a reporter and Morning Edition news host for Valley Public Radio. Jeffrey was born and raised in a small town in rural southeast Ohio. After graduating from Otterbein University in Columbus, Ohio with a communications degree, Jeffrey embarked on a radio career. After brief stops at stations in Ohio and Texas, and not so brief stops in Florida and Mississippi, Jeffrey and his new wife Shivon are happy to be part Valley Public Radio.
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