County looks into new misdemeanor probation solutions

File photo: Major Phillip Irish of the Salvation Army speaks during the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at the Salvation Army on Northeast 14th Street in Ocala, Fla. on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Dozens of awards were given to volunteers for money counting, the Angel Tree and Bell Ringers during the event called “Love Beyond.” [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

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Posted May 22, 2023 |

Marion County’s Salvation Army gave the Marion County Board of Commissioners 180-day notice of their intent to discontinue providing misdemeanor probation services. The agency will continue to provide services through Sept. 12, 2023.

According to a spokesperson for the county, during a Jan. 30 budget workshop, the board asked staff to explore three options: Bidding out the service to another contractor to run the program, creating an in-house BCC department, or creating an MCSO department to provide the service.

“The estimates for each of these three options will be brought back to the county commission during a regularly scheduled meeting for a final decision. Since the bid is due by May 3, I would expect the three options to be presented to the county commission on an agenda after this date,” wrote the spokesperson.

A recent check of Marion County’s procurement portal indicates that two proposals from out-of-town firms have made the “short-list”—American Justice Solutions, Inc. dba Corrective Solutions, out of California, and Professional Probation Services, based out of Georgia.

In the solicitation information, it indicates that the Salvation Army was paid $60 per month per probationer and had “approximately 1000 probationers at any given time.”

The scope of work includes the following:

At least one monthly office visit to the probationer for counseling and supervision.

An evaluation of each probationer to determine if they require medical, social or educational programs in addition to those ordered by the court and assist probationer in referring to applicable programs.

Maintain files containing information on all cases referred to the misdemeanor program, for at least five years following termination of probation.

Records must be maintained for a period of five (5) years following termination of probation.

Provide and document job placement referral information shall be provided by the selected firm for all unemployed probationers.

Follow up and enforcement of any special conditions of the probation, such as:

o Evaluation and treatment programs

o Community service

o Cost of supervision

o Restitution

o Fines and Court costs

o Procurement of licenses

Devise and maintain procedures for the handling of indigent offenders which ensure placement irrespective of ability to pay.

Report any failures to complete the conditions of the probation within the time limits specified by the Court, as a violation of probation.

According to Salvation Army Major Phillip S. Irish, the decision to discontinue providing the service came down to money.

“It was no longer economically viable for The Salvation Army to continue this contract with the county,” he wrote the “Gazette.”

To learn more about submitting a proposal, contact the Procurement Services Department by emailing


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