PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chief Judge Evans makes changes in top probation management positions

Released On 03/17/2014

Evans also orders redesign of computer system to give officers necessary

technology to track offenders

CHICAGO, IL., March 17, 2014 – Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans today announced a change of leadership in the court’s two probation agencies for adult offenders, the Adult Probation Department and the Social Service Department, that he says will enable the departments to better serve the public, the judiciary and probationers.

Effective immediately, Chief Judge Evans has promoted Lavone Haywood from Deputy Chief Probation Officer of the court’s Adult Probation Department to Chief Probation Officer, and Sharon M. Hoffman from Assistant Director of the court’s Social Service Department to Director. Pursuant to state law, the Adult Probation Department oversees primarily felony offenders and the Social Service Department oversees primarily misdemeanor offenders.

In announcing his appointments, Chief Judge Evans said, “The judges seek to accomplish three things when ordering offenders to probation or supervision: to hold offenders accountable for their actions, offer offenders treatment and services to help turn their lives around, and protect the public. In order to make these decisions, they rely in part on the court’s probation staff to provide the most complete and updated information on the offenders.

“The charge I give to Mr. Haywood and Ms. Hoffman is to ensure the court’s probation departments follow best practices to achieve these goals and to take appropriate action to continue to move the court’s efforts forward.”

“Both Mr. Haywood and Ms. Hoffman are veteran community corrections officers. Each is well respected by the rank and file for the leadership abilities they bring to their departments, and I am confident each will have a positive impact on probation operations,” Evans continued.

Chief Judge Evans noted that the change in probation management positions occurs as the court is seeking to replace the outdated electronic case management system used by the Adult Probation Department and the Social Service Department, to, among other things, keep track of probationers’ compliance with court-ordered conditions. “I have asked the county to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a complete redesign of the system. The old system, frankly, hampered the ability of the officers to do their jobs; a new system will give the probations departments’ staff the up-to-date technology that has been sorely lacking,” Evans added.

Chief Probation Officer Lavone Haywood has more than three decades of experience in the Adult Probation Department. He first joined the department as a probation officer in 1977. Since then he has steadily risen through the ranks, serving as a supervisor from 1983 to 1989 in the Fourth Municipal District’s Maywood courthouse in the  felony and municipal divisions. In 1989, he was appointed as one of several Deputy Chief Probation Officers in which he led five department-wide units, including the Intensive Drug Unit and the Felony Unit.  Haywood served in that capacity until 2008 when he was promoted to serve as one of the department’s two Assistant Chief Probation Officers responsible for, among others, policy development, labor management and employee discipline, and internal investigations. Mr. Haywood holds a B.A. in History and Secondary Education and a M.S. in Criminal Justice, both from Chicago State University.

Sharon M. Hoffman, M.A., C.A.D.C. has served in the court’s Social Service Department for more than two decades. She joined the department in 1987 as a social case worker, and in 1991 was promoted to casework supervisor of specialized programs for domestic violence and sex offenders in the Third Municipal District courthouse in Rolling Meadows. She served in that position until her next promotion in 1997 to regional manager responsible for department operations in two suburban court locations, Skokie and Rolling Meadows. In 2003, Ms. Hoffman rose to deputy director of Operations and Information Management Services. In 2005 she was again promoted, this time to Assistant Director, serving in that position for the last nine years in which she was responsible for program development and labor negotiations. She holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice Studies from Loyola University Chicago and an M.A. in Criminal Justice Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor.

Information on the Adult Probation Department and the Social Service Department may be found at www.cookcountycourt.org, under “Probation Departments.”

Mr. Haywood and Ms. Hoffman succeed Jesús E. Reyes who served as Social Service director from August 1999 to August 2005 and then simultaneously as Acting Chief Probation Officer and Director of Social Service since August 1, 2005.

While serving as Social Service director, Mr. Reyes also oversaw the court’s Children’s Advocacy Rooms (CAR) program, a network of rooms which provide child care to parents or guardians attending court. Ms. Sylvia McCullom took over as CAR director when Mr. Reyes was appointed Acting Chief Probation Officer but he continued to oversee two of the CARs. Ms. McCullom will now supervise all eight CARs. Mr. Reyes is expected to continue serving the court as an advisor for research and policy.

Chief Judge Evans today also announced the retirement of his longtime assistant, retired judge Robert Bastone. From 2005, Mr. Bastone served as court liaison to law enforcement and court stakeholder agencies.

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