Mission and Vision Statements

The mission of the San Mateo County Probation Department is to enhance community safety, reduce crime, and assist the victims of crime through offender accountability and rehabilitation.

Within the criminal justice system, probation represents the link between the application of appropriate consequences for illegal behavior and the recovery of offenders to productive, law-abiding lives.

The vision of the Department is to be a proactive and innovative agency which facilitates positive changes in offenders’ behavior that reduces recidivism and fosters a law-abiding lifestyle, which is achieved in three specialized ways:

  1. In line with criminal charges, considering the impact upon victims, the criminal histories and behavior of offenders, plus possible sentencing alternative and providing this information to the Superior Court in the form of accurate and impartial reports and recommendations;
  2. Monitoring and supervising those placed on probation to ensure that court ordered “conditions of probation” are obeyed and public safety is maintained; and
  3. Creating comprehensive treatment plans with probationers and wards to receive support treatment, resources, and services that will prevent future criminal activities.

This specialized criminal justice role often leads to public confusion about “what probation is all about”. Even among law enforcement and social service communities, the role of probation is sometimes misunderstood because it is not entirely enforcement and it is not entirely treatment. It is a successful and cost-effective balance of both. Through probation, the Superior Court can make its best decisions based upon accurate and impartial information. The public is protected from those who continue to commit probation violations and new crimes. Probationers and wards are provided with the resources, treatment and encouragement necessary to restore themselves as full participants in the community.

The San Mateo County Probation Department consists of five divisions that manage a number of diverse programs and activities: Administrative Services, Adult Services, Realignment and Reentry Services, Juvenile Services and Institution Services.  These divisions are staffed with 350 employees who are responsible for the supervision of approximately 2,800 adult , 240 juvenile probationers, and 24-hour supervision, or detention, for approximately 20 youth in the Youth Services Center - Juvenile Hall and Margaret J. Kemp Camp for Girls. The Probation Department also provides services to the Superior Court in the Redwood City Hall of Justice, the Youth Services Center in San Mateo, and South San Francisco.

Who We Serve / What We Do

Services to the San Mateo County Courts 

  • Investigate and analyze past criminal history and current conviction/referral
  • Develop pre-trial and post-conviction recommendation reports for the Adult Court and pre-disposition reports for the Juvenile Court
  • Assess, triage, divert and manage juvenile cases
  • Book, detain, and seek alternatives to detention for at-risk youth
  • Supervise individuals accused of criminal violations during pretrial status
  • Supervise mentally-ill offenders in collaboration with the Court and Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS)
  • Supervise substance abuse offenders in the Bridges day treatment program
  • Operate the Juvenile Traffic Court
  • Assist victims of crime
  • Manage and monitor the collection of restitution payments from offenders
  • Seal juvenile court records
  • Supervise minors on Electronic Monitoring Program / Home Supervision and House Arrest pre-disposition to assure attendance in court

Services to Adult Clients on Probation

  • Investigate, verify, and evaluate background information for pretrial defendants 
  • Monitor pretrial clients in the community that are granted conditional/supervised Own Recognizance release
  • Supervise and monitor high-risk offenders convicted of offenses such as domestic violence, sex crimes, violent crimes, and identify gang related activity
  • Operate evidence-based supervision of adult offenders
  • Offer diversion, minimum supervision and treatment services to eligible clients
  • Monitor low-risk adult  offenders, through the Computer Assisted Supervision Team (CAST)
  • Case manage individuals on home supervision, house arrest, and electronic monitoring

Services to Juvenile Clients on Probation

  • Operate needs-specific specialized caseloads for juvenile offenders
  • Coordinate and case manage youth in out-of-home placement
  • Collaborate with BHRS, Human Services Agency (HSA), and Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to provide wraparound services to youth in order to keep youth in their homes
  • Divert youth from the juvenile justice system through contracts for behavioral services and informal, pre-court supervision
  • Divert referrals to specific targeted programs such as petty theft and victim mediation for juvenile offenses
  • Collaborate with the Human Services Agency (HSA) and San Mateo County Health staff in the triage and treatment of San Mateo County youth coming to the Assessment Center with a police referrals
  • Case manage individuals on home supervision, house arrest, and electronic monitoring

Services to Institutionalized Youth

  • Offer secure care and treatment for youth in Juvenile Hall
  • Facilitate rehabilitation of juvenile offenders at  Margaret J. Kemp Camp for Girls
  • Collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to address the health, mental health, and other treatment needs of detained youth
  • Prepare wards for reentry into the community
  • Provide services aimed at preparing wards to return to their families and / or communities
Administrative Services
  • Background investigations and Training
  • Data collection, evaluation and analysis
  • Budget and fiscal management
  • Contract and purchasing management
  • Payroll and personnel services
  • Grant writing
  • Information Technology
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Internal Affairs
Major Accomplishments
  • Creation of a de-escalation room in the Youth Services - Juvenile Hall -  safe, trauma-informed environment help youth calm down and regulate their feelings without the use of force or isolation 

  • Development of new department core values
  • Maintain Certified Evidence Based Organization (CEBO) designation
  • Development and launch of the Probation Information Management System (PIMS)
  • Continued collaboration with internal and external partners on the Unified Reentry Plan and the adult specialty courts
  • Created a Quality Assurance Unit to provide accurate and timeless data to enhance the department's data-driven decision making as well as for continuous process improvement
  • Implementation of Lexipol, an automated policy and guidelines document repository
  • Continued participation in coordinated law enforcement efforts to reduce gang violence in high-risk communities and to increase the law enforcement profile in the communities
  • Established an evidence-based, risk-based probation supervision for adult and juvenile clients
  • Successful completion of California Standards Authority inspections of Juvenile Hall and Camps
  • Contracted with community-based organizations to provide prevention, early intervention, and treatment services to youth