About the Adult Probation Department

Established in 1911, the Adult Probation Department is the largest probation department in Illinois and the largest probation agency in the United States accredited by the American Correctional Association. The Department operates out of 12 office locations and has approximately 550 employees.

Operating under the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Adult Probation Department administers a variety of programs covering standard and specialized probation supervision, pretrial justice and court services. Through its programs, the Adult Probation Department provides the court with relevant information at many stages of the criminal justices process, enhances public safety, compensates victims of crime and hold individuals accountable while affording them opportunities to make positive changes in their lives.

Mission Statement

Instilling Responsibility, Providing Opportunities, Creating A Safer Community

Teamwork - We are unified in our mission, and all employees are equally important in fulfilling our goals. To be successful, we must openly communicate and cooperate across titles, responsibilities and organizational structures. Trust, appreciation, understanding, personal accountability and diversity strengthen our department. We depend not only upon one another but upon vital partnerships with the judiciary, neighborhoods and other criminal justice agencies and service providers. Our responsibility is to educate these groups about probation, to learn from them and to involve them in our activities.

Professionalism - Our work significantly affects the quality of life for victims, individuals under supervision, families and the community as a whole. We take pride in our jobs and strive for excellence in everything we do. Moreover, we respect the human dignity of each individual. Integrity, fairness and honesty guide our dealings with others.

Leadership - We believe in participatory management which fosters initiative and creativity. Managers lead by example and have consistent expectations. We believe in quality training and a responsive and safe working environment; both are conducive to personal and professional growth. As leaders in our field and in the community, our decisions are proactive, grounded in our mission and guided by experience, research and program evaluation.

Overview of the Adult Probation Department

The majority of the department's resources are dedicated to probation supervision – a sentencing option where individuals are required to comply with specific conditions of supervision while residing in the community. Probation officers assist individuals in complying with their conditions through guidance, surveillance and referrals to service providers for treatment, education and employment services.

Probation supervision provides an important means for compensating victims of crime and the community as a whole. The Adult Probation Department typically collects around $1 million in victim restitution annually, and individuals under supervision complete thousands of hours of community service each year.

Organization & Structure

The department is led by the Chief Probation Officer, who oversees all operations and administrative divisions. The Chief is supported by three Assistant Chief Probation Officers who oversee groups of operational divisions.

These operational divisions are overseen by Deputy Chief Probation Officers, who manage daily operations. Sworn Supervisors oversee the work of Probation Officers and are responsible for day-to-day management of their units.

Probation Officers are the main workforce of the department. They are responsible for daily interactions with individuals under supervision and providing information to the courts for decision-making.

Clerical staff provide support for data entry, documentation and paperwork processing. They help ensure that information is shared with the courts in a timely manner.

Administrative divisions are overseen by Directors, who manage the department's budget and procurement, policy and procedure, training, research, and information technology. Administrative staff support the work of sworn probation staff and clerical staff.

Main Operational Programs

The Adult Probation Department has three main operational programs: probation supervision, pretrial services, and home confinement.

Probation supervision operations receive nearly 8,500 new probation cases annually and have an active caseload of approximately 15,000 individuals. Approximately, 84 percent of individuals under supervision are assigned to standard caseload supervision, while 16 percent are supervised in specialized programs for specific populations. These programs include the Sex Offender Program, the Mental Health Unit and Problem-Solving Courts for veterans and persons in need of behavioral health services.

The department’s Pretrial Services Division conducts a pretrial risk assessment to assist the courts in making decisions about pretrial release conditions. Pretrial Services also supervises more than 14,000 defendants on pretrial release each year, where pretrial officers assist individuals in meeting court mandates and provide information to the court about compliance with conditions of release.

The Home Confinement Unit monitors curfews of individuals under supervision using radio frequency electronic monitoring or GPS devices. Individuals charged with or convicted of certain intimate partner violence offenses under the Cindy Bischof Law are monitored using GPS technology.


Since 1990, the Adult Probation Department has demonstrated compliance with probation standards established by the American Correctional Association (ACA). As an accredited agency, the department is subject to reaccreditation audits every three years. During the reaccreditation process, ACA auditors review department policies and practices to determine compliance with 174 standards. The standards cover several areas of operations including caseload management, training, administration, presentence investigations, finance, research and citizen involvement. Auditors also visit department facilities and interview staff members and individuals under supervision.
In order to remain accredited, the department must comply with 100 percent of the mandatory standards and 90 percent of the non-mandatory standards. Any non-mandatory standards found to be in noncompliance must have an action plan that demonstrates how the department will come into compliance with that standard.
In March 2022, the department was found to be in 100 percent compliance with both mandatory and non-mandatory standards. This is the third consecutive reaccreditation audit where the department received 100 percent compliance. The next reaccreditation audit is scheduled for November 2025 for the period of November 2022 through November 2025.

Grant Funded Programs

The Adult Probation Department operates several grant funded programs and participates in several countywide grant-supported initiatives. The department’s goals in pursuing grant funding and participating in grant funded initiatives are to support innovative and effective programming for individuals under supervision, to pursue partnerships with other government agencies that allow us to work towards our mission, and to take advantage of resources available in the community to address the needs of the people we supervise.

Grant funded programs include:

  • Access to Community Treatment (ACT) Court
  • Effective Practices in Community Supervision (EPICS) Program
  • Rehabilitation Alternative Probation (RAP) Court
  • Women's Rehabilitation Alternative Probation (WRAP) Court



Adult Probation Programs

    Standard probation supervision is the department’s main supervision program, including around 80% of the department’s caseload. Standard supervision is a sentencing option that requires probationers to comply with court-ordered conditions of probation, while they remain in the community. Probation officers use a combination of evidence-based supervision techniques and referrals to community-based treatment and resource providers to address individual needs and promote pro-social behavior change. Typical sentences to standard supervision are 18-24 months and involve in-office reporting, home visits and other monitoring strategies.

    Learn more about Standard Probation Supervision here.

    The Adult Probation Department’s Pretrial Services Division is an essential part of the Circuit Court’s pretrial system. The Division has three main functions: pre-release, post-release and court liaison. Pre-release staff completes the Public Safety Assessment and conducts social history interviews for defendants prior to their initial court appearance. Post-release staff is responsible for monitoring individuals who are ordered to pretrial supervision after being released from the jail to await trial, including defendants who are assigned to the county’s deferred prosecution programs. Court liaison staff is responsible for providing status updates and non-compliance information to the court for supervised individuals, as well as documenting the events of the trial process.

    Learn more about the Pretrial Services Division here.

    The Home Confinement Unit monitors individuals who have been ordered by the court to serve a period of home detention, to abide by a curfew or who have been ordered to GPS monitoring under Public Act 95-0773 (also known as the Cindy Bischof Law) and Public Act 98-1012. The department uses two types of devices to monitor these conditions: radio frequency (RF) devices and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices.

    Individuals monitored with RF devices are charged with or have been convicted of a variety of felony charges, including drug-related offenses, sex offenses, DUI, battery, weapons possession, and theft. Individuals monitored with GPS are typically charged with an offense against an intimate partner (e.g., violation of an order of protection, domestic battery, aggravated domestic battery, stalking). These individuals are ordered to wear a GPS tracking device to help monitor compliance with orders to stay away from the complaining witness, the complaining witness’s home or workplace or any other protected address specified on the order of protection.

    Learn more about the Adult Probation Department's EM program here.

    Problem-Solving Court (PSC) supervision includes several different program types that target specific behavioral health needs or special populations. The Adult Probation Department participates in all 20 of the Circuit Court’s PSC programs, including drug treatment courts, mental health courts, and veterans’ courts. These programs offer structured approaches to the supervision process and include hands-on involvement from a dedicated team of court personnel and treatment providers. All PSCs follow certification standards from the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and use best practices and evidence-based practices in their operations.

    Learn more about PSCs here.

    Mental Health Unit (MHU) supervision is a specialized probation program that focuses on individuals with severe and chronic mental illness. This type of supervision is a sentencing option separate from the Problem Solving Courts in key ways. Eligibility for MHU supervision is different from the mental health courts, with different restrictions on criminal history. MHU participants are not part of a multidisciplinary team like the mental health courts, so probation officers in this unit take a more active role in coordinating mental health services and treatment. More common diagnoses for individuals supervised by MHU include schizophrenia, major depression with psychosis and bipolar disorder. Individuals eligible for this unit may also present with both mental health concerns and substance use disorders.

    Learn more about MHU here.

    The Adult Sex Offender Program (ASOP) is a specialized probation program that provides intensive, coordinated and comprehensive supervision for individuals convicted of probation-eligible, felony sex offenses. ASOP supervision is a sentencing option focused on holding individuals accountable for their behavior, while promoting effective treatment to reduce the likelihood of reoffending. This approach includes long-term treatment with dedicated treatment agencies, enforcement of required registration with federal and state databases, and high-intensity surveillance to monitor compliance with conditions. Individuals supervised by ASOP are monitored by specialized probation officers who conduct increased office and field reporting, curfew checks and regular searches for unauthorized sexually explicit material.

    Learn more about the Sex Offender Program here.

    Pre-sentence and pretrial investigations are conducted to assist the court in making informed sentencing decisions. Probation officers conduct interviews and use collateral sources to gather and verify background information regarding a defendant's criminal record, drug and alcohol use, employment history, financial stability, education level, family situation, mental health history, and peer associations. The information is summarized in a report that is provided to the court. For probation-eligible offenses, reports may include recommendations about probation programs and special conditions that are suited to an individual's specific risks and needs.

    These investigations are required by statute for most felony offenses (730 ILCS 5/5-3-1), but can be waived in certain circumstances.

    Community service is a special condition ordered by the court that requires an individual to complete the specified number of hours during the term of probation. This condition is meant to promote individual accountability and responsibility, while providing restoration to the community. Placements are made by dedicated staff in the Adult Probation Department, and consider the needs and safety of the community. Individuals required to complete community service hours may indicate their preference for placement.


    Administrative Divisions

      Finance and Procurement staff are responsible for developing and administering the department's budget, preparing budget materials for presentation to the County Board of Commissioners, and procuring materials, equipment, and services essential to the department's operations. Finance and Procurement staff manage several contracts for services, including treatment services, electronic monitoring devices, building security, and drug testing. This division is also responsible for routing and disbursement of probation supervision fees and restitution payments.

      Human Resources staff are responsible for job postings, hiring, onboarding, and new staff orientation. Human Resources also provides guidance for management staff navigating the collective bargaining agreements for the department's four collective bargaining units. Applications for leave are processed and administered by Human Resources staff, and staff also help manage internal staffing re-assignments.

      The MIS Division is responsible for maintaining and supporting the department's technology infrastructure, including computers, telecommunications, and data entry systems. Staff in this division provide troubleshooting and technology support, maintain hardware, and oversee the implementation of the department's case management system. MIS staff also assist with generating data extracts and management reports that help assess the department's processes.

      The department's Policy, Procedure, and Accreditation staff are responsible for reviewing and updating existing policies and developing new policies to align with Illinois law, Illinois Supreme Court standards, and to address department operations. Staff are also responsible for the department's accreditation process, including compiling required documentation to submit for auditing.

      The department's Research and Evaluation Team is responsible for collecting and analyzing data to assess the effectiveness of the department's internal programs. The Research Team develops and implements the department's research and evaluation agenda, measures performance towards departmental goals, provides research and best practice support for new and existing programming, and provides regular reports to stakeholders and the public on several of the department's core operations.

      The Training Division is responsible for ensuring that all department staff receive adequate training and skill building to perform their daily tasks. Training staff facilitate internal training opportunities, coordinate for external training opportunities, and ensure that training hours are accurately recorded. The Training Division is also responsible for the pre-service experience that all new probation officer trainees receive for the first four to six weeks of employment with the department.