Though this blog is was originally intended as a resource for offenders in Massachusetts, much of what I write about is applicable to sex offenders in every other state and many countries around the world, especially in Western Europe. Even other non-sex offenders trying to navigate prison, probation and parole, or employment and education opportunities can glean relevant information from this blog and apply it to help overcome their own struggles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over...

This should be a joyous and vibrant post with me talking about the bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Brut I enjoyed and other such celebratory things.  Instead, this post will be about frustrating news, though my celebration is just on hold for a little.  I'll explain.

First, I am off probation - yay! Second, I am still on probation - booo!  Confused??  I was as well.

To have my probation officially terminated by the probation department, a judge needs to sign off on the report she receives from the assistant chief of probation.  The report gives the background of my offense, if I've had any violations, if I've satisfied all of the conditions of probation, etc...  This part I knew.

What I didn't know was that it could take from a week to a month plus to have the paperwork signed.  During this time, one is technically still on probation!  I pressed my PO as to what this means.  Essentially, he explained though I don't have to visit with him, pay fees, go to mandated counseling, I am otherwise still  on probation.  Asked if I can travel out of state, which I had planned to this week, and he said no (thank God I asked that question).  My PO also explained if I were to "get in trouble" again that would be a probation violation, which opens one up to much unpleasantness.  (Also, the judge overseeing my case has been on vacation, which could delay things!)

When an inmate is released from prison, he has a specific date on which he is released and is given a nice certificate signed by the superintendent saying he's done with his time.  There's really no confusion at all: you're either on one side of the wall or the other.  Like most probationers, when I knew what my release date was, I assumed I was free and clear afterward.  Imagine if I had gone out of state, been pulled over in my car, cop realizes I am on probation somehow, I get arrested, extradited, probation violation for being out of state without permission... you get the idea.  Am I over-thinking this-yes.  Do I have to over-think this-absolutely!  Many people on superior court probation (and quite possibly on probation elsewhere in the country) probably don't know about this "delayed termination" and they should.  Be sure to ask your PO about any such situation like this.

I have some employment lined up and am moving into a nice apartment once I get off probation.  I was planning on having been moved in by now but, rather frustratingly, it'll have to wait.  It's been a long probation and I'm a little antsy to get my life started up.