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How To Become A Probation Officer
At Probation Officer Info. we do our best to provide as much information about how to become a probation officer as we can. We break down what a probation officer does in their line of work, as well as the salary, requirements to get hired, and anything else we can think of that would be of any help to you in your quest to learn about probation officers and parole officers. Hopefully we can help put you on the right path to learn how to become a probation officer.
Probation officers are in charge of people who have committed crimes but do not go to prison; instead they are given a sentence to fulfill outside of prison. Probation officers monitor those offenders and make sure they don’t commit any new crimes and fulfill the sentence that was given to them. Parole officers have a very similar job to probation officers. Parole officers are in charge of offenders who have done time in prison and have been released, but still have rules they have to follow (parolee). The parole officer makes sure they follow those appointed rules.
Often times probation officers don’t wear a uniform, but usually dress in casual or business attire. They are usually issued a badge or some other form of identification. Some probation officers carry concealed firearms for self protection, while others carry pepper spray. Generally when a probation officer or parole officer carries a firearm they have attended police academy and are classified as a peace officer.
There are different positions of probation officers. They can perform any duty assigned to them by the court and spend much of their time working for and in the court. Many probation officers conduct pretrial investigations to help determine if a suspect should be released before their trial, as well as help the court know what a person’s criminal history is. They also review sentencing recommendations with offenders and their families before they recommend the sentence to the court. They attend hearings to update the court on how well the offender is following his/her rehabilitation sentence.
Some probation officers supervise offenders who are convicted of a variety of crimes, while others only work in specialized areas. Examples of some specialized areas would be: substance abuse, sex offenders, violent histories, offenders on house arrest, etc. The number of cases that an officer will handle at one time depends on the amount of time the offenders need from the probation officer. If some individuals are a higher risk or require a greater amount of counseling then they will take more of the officer’s time, making it so that officer can’t handle as many cases. Probation officers handle from 20 to over 100 cases at a time. Probation officers work with the offenders and their families to help rehabilitate the offender. Sometimes the family and friends can be angry with the officer. The officer may also be working with offenders that live in dangerous neighborhoods and will be required to be on call 24 hours a day incase there is a problem with the offender, but usually work a 40 hour week. They will often need to transport urine samples for drug testing.
In the United States there are probation officers and parole officers that work in many different government levels. There are probation officer jobs found in the federal government on down through to the city level. Most jobs are found at the state and local level. There also tends to be more openings in more urban areas as apposed to rural areas. Probation agencies have a military type of command structure. The head is usually a Chief Probation Officer or a Director, and then flows down to Deputy Chief or Assistant Director, then Supervisor or Senior Probation Officer, then to the line probation officers.
To become a probation officer and be good at it, you are going to want to have a “good attitude” and a “good personality”. To fit this you will want to have good patience, but be strong and confident. You will also want to have a positive attitude and vibe about you to help the offenders feel like things will improve for them, if they will just work with you and follow the rules. You will not want to be timid because you will be working with many people and will need to give recommendations to the court for offenders. You don’t want people to think they can get away with things, or walk on you, especially the offenders you are working with. Who would want to work with a grumpy negative person? Not me! And I really don’t think criminals would want to either; might even be why you are working with them in the first place, they got angry at someone that treated them bad or put them in the wrong mood. So as you’re learning how to become a probation officer, you also need to learn how to have a calm, confident, friendly, positive attitude.
Becoming a probation officer isn’t an easy task. It takes some time, work, focus and most times a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some people enjoy it as a career and others find it too stressful.
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