Requesting an Accommodation for Your Disability on County-Level Probation


Unlike for state parole, there are no formal probation policies or procedures to request accommodations or file a complaint related to your disability. Each county does things differently, and many counties have no formal procedures. You can first talk to your probation officer and explain the situation to him/her OR you may ask a judge to modify your probation to accommodate your disability by filing a motion requesting a change.

Start by talking with your probation officer and explain to him/her:

    What your disability is;
    Why it is difficult for you to participate in programs or supervision requirements; and
    What assistance, accommodations or changes you need.
    If you have to do any evaluations with other agencies or service providers (for example, if the Probation Department does a risk- or needs-assessment for you, or you have a work placement evaluation by the Sheriff’s department), you should also explain to them why your disability makes it difficult for you to participate or meet other requirements.
    If you were sentenced under Realignment and are on Mandatory Supervision or PRCS, you may be entitled to participate in special programs or other services for your disability.[1152]

If that didn’t fix the problem, you can ask the judge to modify your probation to accommodate your disability by filing a motion requesting a change (called a “modification”).

If after talking to your probation officer or their supervisor, you still need help because (1) you did not get the assistance you require for your disability, (2) you are unable to participate in the programs which you are being offered or required to participate in, or (3) the terms of your supervision are difficult for you due to your disability, then you can go back to court to request help from the judge.

In order to ask the judge to modify your probation, you must FILE A MOTION requesting that the judge modify probation to accommodate your disability. Once you file your motion, you will have a hearing. The motion would likely mention the following laws:

    The Americans with Disability Act (ADA)—The ADA protects people with disabilities against discrimination and it requires public entities to provide reasonable accommodations. The ADA applies to all public entities, including local courts and probation departments.[1153]
    California Government Code § 11135 and Civil Code §§ 54 et seq.,[1154] which provide similar state protections as the federal ADA.
    California Penal Code § 1203.3, which gives the court authority to change your probation conditions.[1155]
    The specific facts of your disability, how it affects you on probation, and what changes or additional assistance you need.

The Hearing

During the hearing, you (or your attorney, if you have one) will explain to the judge why your disability makes it difficult for you to comply with your current conditions, what changes you need in your probation conditions, and if you need any other assistance from the probation department will help you to successfully complete your probation. You can also ask the court to order the probation department to provide certain assistance or other accommodations. The prosecutor will also have a chance to speak at your hearing—this includes a chance to oppose your request for modification. Because the judge has much more control over the Probation Department and the terms of your supervision, the Judge can order Probation to provide you with assistance, and can decide any other accommodations necessary for you to successfully complete your supervision.[1156]

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    Telephone calls with the following county probation departments, Nov. 6, 2014:

    Tony Crear, Community Network Coordinator, Alameda Cnty. Probation Dept.

    Robin Nicole Livingston, AB 109 Probation Officer, Contra Costa Cnty. Probation Dept.

    Jim Metzen, Probation Consultant, Yolo Cnty. Probation Dept.

    Alan Seeber, Sacramento Cnty. Probation Dept.

    Whitnee Reynolds, Administrative Assistant / Training Coordinator, Chief Probation Officers of Cal.

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    The ADA is available at

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    Cal. Gov’t Code § 11135.

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    Cal. Gov’t Code § 1203.3.

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    Telephone call with Tony Crear, Alameda County. Probation Dept.