[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Proactive Probation

Starting with a drug court, Nueces County now offers several specialized caseloads to help probationers.

In Nueces County, almost half of the probation officers are assigned to specialized caseloads, including domestic violence, veterans, reentry, mental health, drug diversion, and drunken driving.

Overseeing the diverse and targeted approach for probationers is a Sam Houston State University graduate, Javed Syed. A native of Pakistan, Syed earned a B.S. in Law Enforcement and Police Science in 1978 and M.S. in Police Science and Administration in 1985 at the College of Criminal Justice, which he credits with providing the foundation for his career.

“I owe my probation officer career to Dr. George Beto,” said Syed. “The professors have been very, very supportive and helped me along the way in my career, both in school and if I had questions on the job.”

Syed is Director of the Nueces County Community Supervision and Corrections Department, which oversees 8,000 probationers in the area around Corpus Christi. The county has developed a number of specialized courts to deal with specific issues in the county, which include heavy judicial involvement, targeted resources, immediate sanctions and rewards, and small caseloads for probation officers.

“We are trying to come up with innovative ways to rehabilitate probationers,” said Syed. “When you have smaller caseloads, you can make an impact right away and provide enforcement for particular caseloads. Judges are involved so the sanctions and rewards are immediate, and they work.”

Among the specialized courts in the county are:

  • Domestic Violence, which requires most probationers to attend counseling, including anger management and batterer prevention classes.
  • Mental Health, which works with the local Mental Health Mental Retardation agency and private treatment providers in a coordinated effort with judges and probation officers.
  • Veterans, which allow military veterans who have been honorably discharged to have their cases dismissed if they participate in the program, which provides support through local veterans’ agencies.
  • Drug Diversion, which allowed drug offenders to have their cases dismissed through participation with the intensive supervision program.
  • Substance Abuse Felony Punishment Facility Reentry, which works with those released from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Substance Abuse program with treatment options and intensive supervision.
  • Driving While Intoxicated, which includes mandatory blood alcohol content level monitoring for all offenders.

The programs were initiated through the collaborative efforts of judges and probation officers in the county. Syed has been involved in the creation of all of the programs that are utilized by the specialty courts, with the exception of the Drug Diversion Court which existed before he was hired in 2005. He suggested the domestic violence court after seeing a lot of these cases in the county and said it has helped in rehabilitating some offenders, while keeping victims safe from others.

“We work very closely with judges on ideas,” said Syed. “The judges really have to do a lot of work and invest a lot of time in these cases.”

Syed began his career and got training in all aspects of probation during 23 years with the Harris County Probation Office, where he was branch director. He got the job through contacts from Dr. Beto, one of the founding members of the College of Criminal Justice.

“Harris County was a great learning experience,” said Syed. “Harris County is a great place to work and learn. You learn what to do, what not to do, and what to avoid.”

He also had many great training experiences at Sam Houston State University, where he worked as a research assistant in continuing education, in the University Hotel and later for Dr. James Barrum. He also worked as a special assistant to the Director of SHSU's Traffic Training Program which was designed to train Saudi Arabian police officers. Each position helped him develop administrative skills on how to get things done and projects moving.

Syed recommends that students studying Criminal Justice use their time at SHSU to learn and take accounting courses if they want to climb the ladder in their career.

“Take classes and learn from it, especially from professionals in the field,” said Syed. “If you listen and follow up, you can find out what worked and didn’t work in their careers…Also take accounting classes if you want to move into administration. When it comes to administration, you have to handle budgets and money, and it will be a hindrance if you have poor math skills.”

More Alumni News

[an error occurred while processing this directive]