Utah Department of Corrections

Adult Probation and Parole supervisor Clint Lund addresses agents and former parolees and probationers during a gathering in Ogden.

Members of Ogden’s Adult Probation and Parole Division learn what works -- and what needs work -- from those who have successfully completed supervision

BY UDC News

Gathered in a non-descript Ogden meeting room, the dozen or so parolees and probationers were intermingled with twice the number of agents from the Utah Department of Corrections’ Adult Probation and Parole Division.

But in this setting, it was the offenders doing the talking.

They were all “graduates,” having successfully completed supervised release. And the goal was not only to celebrate the accomplishment, but also to give feedback about what agents and the department were doing right – and where there could be improvement.

“So often an agent does great work, but they don’t see that person again,” said Clint Lund, an Ogden AP&P supervisor who started the meetings in early 2018. “This is kind of a moment to show agents, ‘Yes, you’re making a difference.’”

The monthly face-to-face interaction – complete with “incentive” gifts for those who come and share their viewpoints – has already generated an area of focus for the department: the lobby.

“Some offenders said the lobby was distracting, with some uneasy about conversations going on,” said Lund. “We came up with the idea of having a video in the room to keep people occupied. Also, to quickly serve them.

“It has been a great change,” he added. “And it was something we didn’t see as that big of a problem.”

The lobby was again a point of feedback on this day, though it was overwhelmed by the number of positive comments from former probationers about agents helping them get back on the right path.

Brian Humphrey used his time to praise agent Kyle Celauro for helping to motivate him along his journey.

“He (offered) me words of encouragement,” said Humphrey. “They gave me a goal to complete every obstacle and stipulation as far as probation.”

Humphrey’s challenge was two-fold. He not only was on probation, but the Illinois native was doing it in a place far different than his hometown of East St. Louis.

“He was a complete outsider,” said Celauro of Humphrey. “It was a completely different culture. I focused on bringing down the walls.”

Motivation proved to be a big factor on this day, with the majority of speakers singling out their agents for providing the impetus to meet requirements. Lund said hearing that helps spur agents in return.

“It’s empowering to those agents,” he said. “It fills their glass up. It gives them incentive to keep working hard.”

After the guests depart, Lund spends time debriefing the agents. On this day, he circles back to the lobby, reminding those assembled that the first encounter newly assigned offenders have with the department is the front desk. There is a general consensus to make it more of a positive interaction.

He then turns to the key takeaway from the day’s talks – motivation. He pointed out several mentioned that after they had a setback, their agent helped them back into compliance.

“It’s easy to arrest someone, put them in jail and forget about them. But they’re coming back to you,” he said. “Yeah, you may have to take them to jail, but on the way there, talk to them and say, ‘Hey, when you get out, let’s find ways to not let this happen again.’”