By The Council of State Governments Justice Center Staff
Tasked with working one-on-one with people under supervision, probation and parole officers play a critical role in supporting a person’s successful reentry to the community. And yet, officers are also often overworked, tasked with large caseloads, and experience trauma from the day-to-day requirements of their position. Despite these challenges, many officers have stepped up to become “agents of behavior change” in order to effectively help the people they supervise succeed.
Arlyn Harris brought that positive change to the Maricopa County Adult Probation Department in Arizona, a FY2014 Innovations in Supervision Initiative (ISI) grantee. Starting in 1997 as a probation officer, she was promoted to supervisor in 2005 and eventually became the department’s Thinking for a Change (T4C) program coordinator. T4C, a cognitive-behavioral intervention focused on improving thinking patterns, social skills, and problem-solving skills, can be used to prepare participants for success in the community; Harris uses T4C, along with her spirit of enthusiasm and dedication, to help people rebuild their lives after justice system involvement.
Harris and Maricopa County serve as examples of the many people and communities that are using ISI grant funds to promote positive behavior change, accountability, and more. To read more about Harris’ work in probation, see her American Probation and Parole Association member spotlight.