Probation director to retire

NORWICH – Laureen Clarke, director of the probation department in Chenango County, will be retiring at the end of September after 30 years of service in the area. According to Clarke, her decision to retire was made years ago and the transition to a new director should be made smoothly.

Clarke’s time as director saw many changes to the system, she said. Back in the 1990s, the county was having problems with overcrowding in the jails. In order to remedy the situation, an electronic monitoring system was instituted as well as an alternative to incarceration program, said Clarke.

“We were one of the first counties to have an electronic monitoring system in the state,” said Clarke. She also inherited a pre-trial release program that proved not to be cost efficient and was therefore changed to a substance abuse program, she said. The biggest issue the probation department dealt with, she said, was dealing with the regularly added state mandates in a cost efficient way for the county and implementing them with as little cost to the taxpayers as possible.

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