Job Title: Probation Officer
Type of Company: To supervise offenders that are released back into the community to ensure they abide by their conditions of release.
Education: BA, Sport Sciences
Previous Experience: I started out as a sheriff and worked in the Hartford, Connecticut court system until I took a job as a youth service officer. I became a probation officer about a decade ago.
Job Tasks: Someone makes a poor decision, commits a crime and gets arrested for it. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, they may be released with a court date or held at the police station until the next available court date. After being presented to a judge, the suspect is usually placed on some type of pre-trial supervision that is overseen by the Bail Commissioner's Office or the probation officer.
As a probation officer, you are required to conduct random drug screens, complete unannounced home visits and ensure that each individual is in compliance with the conditions of their release. Once they complete the pre-trial phase of the court process their case is either dismissed or they are placed on probation. If the latter, their probation officer is responsible for the same supervisions as when the subject was in pre-trial supervision, only now, if any violations are detected, the probation officer has the right to charge the subject with a violation of probation and put him in jail.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of the job is the paperwork. Thorough documentation is required in every phase of the job. Whether you are just interviewing a client or speaking with a prosecutor or public defender, if you do not accurately document every and all interactions, something will come back to bite you!
The best part of the job is when your involvement in someone's life helps them get back on track and make positive decisions. Any time we can assist in returning someone to the community and know that they now have a chance to become a positive member of the community, that's rewarding.
Job Tips: I would definitely recommend that you take the bulk of your college level courses in Criminal Justice and Social Work. The probation officer wears several hats. On the one hand, he's required to enforce the laws of the state and on the other hand he needs to be sensitive to the client's and/or family's needs and do whatever he can to put them in a better position to be successful.
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