Mark Varela was raised in Oxnard and attended local schools. He graduated from Santa Clara High School and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara in the field of Law and Society.
Mark began his career in community service in 1988 as a Deputy Probation Officer for the Ventura County Probation Agency. He rose through the agency’s ranks to his current assignment as Director/Chief Probation Officer.
Mark and his staff of nearly 450 dedicated deputy probation officers, corrections services officers, and specialized support personnel are responsible for the community supervision of over 17,000 adults and juveniles on probation; supervision duties of offenders in adult and juvenile custodial facilities; direct investigative report services to the Ventura County Superior Court; and delivery of specialized services to hundreds of individuals participating in enhanced community-based and Court partnership programs.
During his lengthy career, Mark has played a key leadership role in the design, development and oversight of many innovative and successful delinquency programs including, but not limited to: Oxnard/Ventura’s Gang Violence Suppression Programs; Boys and Girls Club of Oxnard/Port Hueneme’s Targeted Re-Entry Program; The California Endowment’s Healthy Returns Initiative; and the Juvenile Facilities’ Commitment Services Program. In addition, Mark played an important role in the Juvenile Justice Center’s construction oversight and policy development team and he was instrumental in establishing California’s first Boys and Girls Club facility within a juvenile detention center.
Mark plays an active role within the local criminal justice and social services field. He is currently the Chair of the Ventura County Community Corrections Partnership and Co-Chair of the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Executive Steering Committee, and the Disproportionate Minority Contact Task Force. Mark has been an active member of the Ventura County Executive Committee, Community Leadership Committee, Prevention and Early Intervention Planning Committee, Ventura County Management Council, United Way of Ventura County, and a several other county/state workgroups. Mark is the current Secretary of the Chief Probation Officers of California Association and is in line to be the association’s president in 2015.
Ventura County Probation Agency
- March, 2010 – present Director/Chief Probation Officer
- May, 2008 – March, 2010 Chief Deputy, Probation Services
- December, 2004 – May, 2008 Division Manager, Commitment Services
- May, 2004 – December, 2004 Division Manager, Juvenile Services
- July, 1997 – May, 2004 Supervising Deputy Probation Officer (Juvenile Supervision Services, Staff Training Unit, Juvenile Justice Center Transition Team, Detention Services)
- October, 1994 – July, 1997 Sr. Deputy Probation Officer (Colston Youth Center/Juvenile Restitution Project, Adult Investigations)
- November, 1988 – October, 1994 Deputy Probation Officer (Adult Investigations, Oxnard Field Services, Gateway Community School, Colston Youth Center)
Santa Barbara County Municipal Court
- January, 1987 – June, 1988 Own Recognizance Investigator
- Bachelor’s Degree, Law and Society – University of California at Santa Barbara
- Associate’s Degree, Liberal Studies – Ventura College