There is a short list of people as passionate about probation as Charles Robinson, the new Director of the Adult Probation Department in Austin, Texas. Charles is very driven and openly articulates his desire to make a difference through service to others. He emerges as a leader committed to instilling responsibility, providing opportunities, and creating a safer Austin community.
Mr. Robinson is a leader who recognizes that public safety – fewer crimes and fewer victims – is the product of a balanced approach that reduces risk and embraces the possibility of change. He is fully aware that his leadership and the agency’s shared vision will significantly affect the quality of life for victims, defendants and offenders, their families, and the community as a whole. In conversation with him, one soon discovers that Mr. Robinson is striving for excellence, yet embracing the humble integrity of a public servant.
His journey as a criminal justice practitioner began in 1998 in Dallas County, as a probation officer supervising young high risk offenders. His work in Dallas County with drug courts and evidence-based practices led to a move to Washington D.C., to join the staff of the Administrative Office of the US Courts. As a probation administrator he regularly did compliance reviews, but worked primarily in the area of evidence-based practices. He played a significant role in the development and implementation of the new federal risk instrument and supervision skills training. Mr. Robinson arrives with an awareness of the steps forward being taken by community supervision professionals in Texas and the many strides taken by Travis County Pretrial and Adult Probation staff. Charles stresses that he is impressed with the immense possibilities that come with his transition to Austin. Collectively his experiences have helped strengthen a value system which includes integrity, accountability, professionalism, and teamwork.
As he begins anew in Travis County, Mr. Robinson’s primary goal is to inspire greatness in others. Mr. Robinson, when referring to his transformational leadership style, is committed to equipping staff with the tools necessary to become leaders in this field and in the community. It is also his hope that his leadership inspires others to be better and to redefine 100% for themselves.
With experience in various aspects of justice, Mr. Robinson has determined that decisions made in probation need to be proactive and evidence-based. It is crucial that we learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward building a better future. We excitedly conclude that Charles Robinson arrives committed to making all departments under his watch a “winning team.”
Paulette Tyson is an Author and contributing writer to Ujima Magazine.