With effect from 1 June, 2008, the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Justice integrated the probation service (Bewährungsaufsicht) and the supervision of conduct (Führungsaufsicht), which were formerly accountable to the courts with ordinary jurisdiction as well as the court advisory and support service (Gerichtshilfe) into a new authority called "Ambulante Soziale Dienste der Justiz" (ASD).

The newly established authority is designed to be a key feature of an integrated and coherent crime prevention policy with specialised services working together effectively and efficiently.

It is predominantly concerned with offenders who may face a wide range of severe problems including unemployment, indebtedness, addiction, psychological or physical impairment, social disintegration, and reduced or impaired social competence.

The ASD will be established at each regional court.

Its tasks include:

Probation service and supervision of conduct

Providing assistance to and supervising adults and young delinquents whose sentence, youth custody, detention order or remainder of sentence have been suspended on probation, and who have been placed under the supervision of a probation officer or under any form of supervision of conduct. The aim is to promote the rehabilitation of the person in question, to prevent imprisonment with its adverse consequences and to considerably reduce re-offending rates.

Court advisory and support service

Upon request, the court advisory and support service makes social work-oriented inquiries into and reports about the personal circumstances and social situation of suspected, charged, accused or sentenced adult persons and provides diagnoses based on its findings. In addition, the court advisory and support service contributes towards restoring social peace, for instance by providing mediation between the offender and the victim. The service ca. also be commissioned to draw up a report about the victim of a crime.

The various tasks of the ASD are performed by social workers who have graduated with an academic degree.