Probation Department Under State, Federal Scrutiny

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For the better part of a year, the state Probation Department and its allegedly corrupt hiring practices have been under a microscope. On Tuesday, with news that federal prosecutors plan to investigate the department, that microscope grew a lot bigger.

Those prosecutorial inquiries were spurred by stories by the Boston Globe's Spotlight Team, which found that probation department job applicants with political connections were often hired even if they weren't qualified, and that state politicians routinely received political contributions from probation staffers.

Following the Globe stories, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court launched an independent investigation into the agency led by Boston attorney Paul Ware. Ware's report — released earlier this month — was damning.

Last week, Attorney General Martha Coakley opened a criminal investigation into the department. And on Tuesday, we learned that the federal government — via U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz's office — has launched its own grand jury investigation to examine charges of fraud, extortion and conspiracy.


  • Marcella Bombardieri, reporter, Boston Globe
  • Paul Ware, attorney, Goodwin Procter LLC
  • David Bernstein, political columnist, Boston Phoenix


This segment aired on November 30, 2010.


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