Message from the chief

Welcome to the home page of the Ventura County Probation Agency

Director/Chief Probation Officer Mark VarelaThe Ventura County Probation Agency is charged by the courts with the direct supervision of approximately 15,500 adult offenders and 2,500 juvenile offenders on probation, as well as performing two mandated functions: the preparation of sentencing reports for the courts and the operation of the Juvenile Facilities. To accomplish this mission, a highly-trained corps of armed deputy probation officers supervise the most serious offenders via close community monitoring, including GPS tracking and frequent field contacts. Approximately 350 additional officers supervise low and moderate-risk probationers in the community and prepare sentencing reports for the courts, recommending appropriate sanctions including incarceration, counseling, or a combination of treatment services.   

As the field of corrections has evolved, so have the needs of our offenders and the community. To service these needs, we have introduced scientific, evidence-based programming to our supervision model, including individual and family counseling, job training and readiness, anger management, risk and need assessments, and substance abuse intervention in an effort to maximize a probationer’s successful transition back to the community.  If these services prove unsuccessful and incarceration is warranted, the agency operates and provides programming at two detention facilities in the county: the Juvenile Facilities in Oxnard, and the Work Furlough facility in Camarillo.

In addition to our sworn staff, we employ a dedicated group of approximately 80 non-sworn support personnel to assist with a myriad of critical functions, including:  budget review and monitoring; supply requisitions; payroll processing; grant compliance; computer maintenance; kitchen and laundry services; and administrative support.  Sixty volunteers dedicate their free time offering classes to offenders in GED tutoring, job readiness, chess, art, science, computer repair, landscaping, silk screening, music, theater, and sports.

Noteworthy Projects

In November 2009, the County of Ventura was one of seven California counties awarded grant funding to analyze and identify disproportionate minority contact (DMC) concerns within the juvenile justice system and community.  The Board of Supervisors authorized the Probation Agency to act as the lead agency to identify causes, trends, and reduction strategies for eliminating the overrepresentation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system.  We have continued to actively collect, analyze, and disseminate DMC data to local law enforcement agencies and stakeholders in an effort to improve Ventura County’s juvenile justice systems and operate within the County's purpose of detention statement.

In July 2011, the Board of Supervisors approved the addition of a Job Training Furlough Program to our Work Furlough/Work Release/ Weekender programming, allowing us to provide job training services to Work Furlough inmates to assist with their successful transition back to their communities and families.  Resume writing, application techniques, and interviewing skills are taught on site and job placements are sought with local businesses to secure economic stability for offenders in transition.

Most notably, in October 2011, the agency underwent extensive restructuring to accommodate the influx of post-release community supervision offenders returned to Ventura County from state prisons due to overcrowding and the passage of AB 109 (public safety realignment).  Staff, programs, and services were quickly mobilized to offer the latest evidence-based programming and supervision for these offenders, while still maintaining community safety. 

We are excited to enter this new phase in corrections with our other justice partners and will continue to uphold our commitment to serve Ventura County citizens with integrity, honor, and professionalism.  We hope you find our website helpful and encourage your feedback. 

 

Respectfully,

Mark Varela
Director/Chief Probation Officer