Gov. Deval Patrick is expected to try to merge the state’s parole and probation departments in a cost-cutting measure that could save the state millions.
The move, expected to be formally announced Wednesday when Patrick unveils a new budget, would create a Department of Community Supervision under the Executive Office of Public Safety, according to published reports.
Patrick faces a $3 billion budget gap. By consolidating probation and the parole board — which is already run by the executive branch — under one roof, he believes he can save $40 million, cutting out overlapping positions and inefficient practices. The plan would wrest probation from the court system, setting up a potential clash with the judiciary.
Probation places criminal offenders under the supervision of a probation officer, who monitors the offender through court-ordered visits and investigations. The state had over 250,000 individuals in the program in fiscal 2009, and received $122 million in Patrick’s last budget, according to reports.