The Palo Pinto County Community Supervision and Corrections Department was originally organized in 1975 by the District Judge of the 29th Judicial District, the Honorable Herman Fitts. As the administration of probation in Texas was the responsibility of local judges and county officials prior to 1977, the department was funded through local funds and was comprised of a lone probation officer, Mr. Ronald Edwards, appointed by Judge Fitts and approved by the Palo Pinto County Commissioners’ Court.
Recognizing the need for a more structured and better-funded probation system, the Texas Adult Probation Commission (TAPC) was created by the Texas Legislature in 1977 to oversee adult probation departments. The TAPC established statewide standards for the employment of probation officers, the provision of services to offenders, and it distributed state funds to the local adult probation departments. In addition, it placed the responsibility for the administration of probation within the local judicial districts.
As the 29th Judicial District was comprised of three counties (Palo Pinto, Erath, and Hood Counties), Mr. Ronald Edwards was appointed as Chief Probation Officer for the 29th Judicial District Adult Probation Department by Judge Herman Fitts in 1978. Chief Probation Officer Edwards reorganized the department and additional probation officers and clerical staff were employed to service the District Court and the county courts of the three counties.
As result of a reorganization of the state judicial districts by the Texas Legislature in 1981, the 29th Judicial District became, and remains, a single county district encompassing only Palo Pinto County.
In an effort to bring about a more cohesive criminal justice system, the 71st Texas Legislature consolidated three agencies into one in 1989 to create the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The Texas Adult Probation Commission became the Community Justice Assistance Division, the Board of Pardons and Paroles became the Pardons and Parole Division, and the Texas Department of Corrections became the Institutional Division. With the consolidation, the Legislature changed the name of adult probation departments to community supervision and corrections departments and referred to probation officers as community supervision officers and chief probation officers as directors.
By 1990, the 29th Judicial District Adult Probation Department, also referred to as the Palo Pinto County Adult Probation Department, formally became the Palo Pinto County Community Supervision and Corrections Department. It is more commonly referred to as the Palo Pinto County CSCD.
In 1999, the department was moved from its location in the Palo Pinto County Courthouse to its present building, constructed for it by Palo Pinto County, at 503 Oak in Palo Pinto, Texas.
Upon the retirement of Director Ronald Edwards in October of 2004, James R. (Jim) French, the present Director of the Palo Pinto County CSCD, was appointed by then District Judge, the Honorable Jerry D. Ray. Mr. French has previously served in other jurisdictions as a juvenile and adult probation officer, a Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, and as a CSCD Director.
The Palo Pinto County CSCD currently consists of the Director, six Community Supervision (Probation) Officers, a Substance Abuse Counselor, a Community Service Coordinator, two clerical support staff, and a Victim Services Coordinator that is shared with the 29th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.