Office and Field Contacts
CSOSA's commitment to implementing a community-based approach to supervision includes taking proven best practices and making them a reality in the District of Columbia. When the Agency was established, supervision officers handled high caseloads from behind their desks downtown (known as fortress parole and probation), achieving only minimal levels of contact with most offenders in the community. Since then, CSOSA has adopted a new deployment structure for its officers, collapsing the old designations of Probation and Parole Officers into the single position of Community Supervision Officer (CSO) and locating the CSOs in field sites in the community (known as place-based geographic parole and probation). This supervision model employs a mix of office visits and interaction in the community. This structure also facilitates assigning caseloads to CSOs by police service area (PSA), rather than by releasing authority (U.S. Parole Commission or DC Superior Court).
Most officers now spend part of their workday in the community, making contact with the offenders where they live and work. These community contacts have resulted ina fuller understanding of the offender, through both direct observation of the offender in his or her daily environment and regular communication and interaction with those in the offender's social network.
CSOs supervise a mixed probation and parole caseload and perform home and employment verifications and visits, including accountability tours, which are visits to the homes of high-risk offenders conducted jointly by a CSO and a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Officer. Accountability tours can be announced or unannounced and serve ensure that offenders are at home, working or otherwise engaged in appropriate activity. They also heighten the awareness of a law enforcement presence in the community among offenders and citizens. Accountability tours allow CSOs to collect valuable information and in some cases, MPD officers have seized weapons and drugs and made arrests.