Massive layoffs in Madison County's Probation and Court Services Department will compromise public safety and be "extraordinarily injurious to the local court system," said Third Circuit Chief Judge Ann Callis.

According to a press release issued by Callis, the State has notified Madison County that its annual budget for probation salaries will be cut by 57 percent or $1,602,281, which equates to about 30 probation and detention officers.

"This occurrence is catastrophic for the department in operational terms and tragic for individuals facing job and career loss," said probation director Judy Dallas.

The Madison County Probation and Court Services Department currently employs 110 staff as probation and detention officers and support personnel.

The probation department already eliminated six probation officers in June, and did not to fill two recently vacated managerial posts, the release stated. Also, the department negotiated with the Edwardsville School District to pick up the costs of its school-based probation officer in an effort to meet a mandated 6.5 percent county budget cut.

In an effort to avert the massive layoff which will take place Sept. 21, Madison County has joined with the Illinois Probation and Court Services Association and the Madison County Board to appeal to the governor to utilize the authority granted to him by the General Assembly to transfer available state funds to probation services statewide and especially Madison County.

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