Nov 2, 2015 (County News Service) After a nearly four decade career in criminal justice, San Diego County Chief Probation Officer Mack Jenkins on Monday announced his plans to retire in March.
Jenkins, 60, has overseen the County’s Probation Department since December 2007. In this position, he manages a staff of approximately 1,250 employees, who supervise about 12,000 adult and 2,000 juvenile local offenders. Previously, Jenkins spent 30 years with the Orange County Probation Department, working his way up the ranks from intern to Division Director. His last day with the County will be March 3, 2016.
Jenkins said that the time has come for him to shift his focus to other areas of his life. His first grandchild is on the way, and he said he feels comfortable with what he has accomplished.
“I feel a sense of completion,” Jenkins said. “I’ve had a long and productive career in probation, criminal justice and community corrections, including the opportunity to serve as Chief Probation Officer in San Diego County for the past eight years.”
“Mack has had a distinguished career,” said the County’s Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer. “He has a great deal to be proud of, and we are proud of him for all he has accomplished. We wish him all the best in this next phase of his life.”
County officials plan to conduct a national search to replace this critical position within the region’s criminal justice system.
Over the course of his career, Jenkins has become a nationally known expert in Probation practices. He is often asked to speak and train others in the field, and he is a former adjunct instructor in criminal justice. Among his areas of expertise are what is known as the “balanced approach” and “evidence-based practices” in community corrections, both concepts that he advanced within the San Diego County Probation Department. A balanced approach focuses on behavioral changes among offenders, in addition to surveillance and enforcement. Evidence-based practices are those that are research-proven, including risk-based supervision, which matches supervision resources to the offenders’ needs. He also supported diversion programs for the juvenile population, which redirect youth away from the juvenile justice system yet still hold them accountable.
Jenkins’ accomplishments also include designing Probation’s role in the first drug court in Orange County, and then helping to develop additional drug courts, and DUI and mental health courts. These special courts work closely with offenders to hold them responsible for their actions while also making sure they get intensive treatment. There are now about 2,500 drug courts around the country.
Jenkins has held many leadership positions, including past president of the Chief Probation Officers of California (CPOC) and former vice president of the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA). He serves on the California Chief Justice’s Steering Committee for Keeping Kids in School and Out of Court; the California Judicial Council’s Collaborative Justice Courts Advisory Committee and was part of the California Task Force for Criminal Justice Collaboration on Mental Health Issues. He was recently appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Council on Mentally Ill Offenders.