The Georgia Department of Corrections awarded Fisher the honor during the 10th annual GDC Awards on June 24 in Forsyth. The award is named for Cynthia Floyd-Rolle, a probation officer for 15 years until her death in 2001.
“It is always nice to be recognized for the work you do and to be told that you are doing a good job,” Fisher said. “It was an honor just to be nominated and a complete surprise to be selected to receive the award, as I know there are many officers within the Department of Corrections that are equally deserving of recognition.”
According to a press release from the GDC, Fisher received the honor “for her exceptional commitment to the supervision of mental health offenders. Officer Fisher developed a new referral system in collaboration with Georgia Highlands Mental Health to help recognize and assist people with mental health disorders in crisis. Her dedication to this cause has helped reduced the stigma of mental health offenders.”
Fisher, who began with the Department of Corrections in 2005, became the mental health probation officer specialist for the Cartersville Probation Office last year after five years as the intensive probation caseload supervisor.
“The mental health caseload allows for closer supervision and monitoring of offenders with serious and persistent mental illnesses. It serves to assist mental health offenders to stabilize behaviors and comply with court-sentencing objectives,” Fisher said. “Since starting this caseload, I have been working to improve lines of communication with mental health providers in order to better serve our offenders. I developed a new referral form for our probation officers to provide better information to the treatment providers conducting evaluations. The goal is to assist our treatment providers in making the best recommendations possible for treating offenders by sharing background information.”
In addition, Fisher worked to coordinate a crisis intervention team training for Bartow County.
“CIT works to equip law enforcement officers with the skills to de-escalate individuals in crisis, thus enhancing public safety, reducing stigma and, in some cases, reducing recidivism by assisting persons with mental illness to receive treatment in lieu of incarceration,” she said.
Fisher’s work with mental health offenders is one of the most enjoyable aspects of her job.
“I have really enjoyed helping offenders with mental illness and their families in accessing resources and ensuring the offender’s compliance with conditions of probation. There is something very rewarding about having an offender you have supervised — or their family members — thank you and tell you that you have made a positive impact in their life,” she said. “I enjoy my work as a probation officer and the officers and staff I work with at the Cartersville Probation Office and across the state. There is a very strong sense of family in the Cartersville office, a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that is not often seen in places of employment.”
“The department is honored to recognize Jill for her commitment to providing treatment to the state’s population of mental health offenders,” Commissioner Brian Owens said. “Her dedication is commendable.”
Georgia’s Department of Corrections operates one of the largest prison systems in the U.S., supervising roughly 55,000 state prisoners and more than 160,000 probationers. It is also the largest law enforcement agency in the state with about 12,000 employees.