Probation Officer

What is a probation officer (PO)?

The courts employ a probation officer to supervise offenders placed on probation for a specified period of time instead of serving a jail or prison term.

Acting as intermediaries between judges and offenders, probation officers help community members who have had previous trouble with the law become productive citizens in society.

What does a probation officer do?

A probation officer is responsible for the following:

  • Adhering to court-imposed reporting guidelines,
  • Collaborating with external agencies,
  • Evaluating offenders to determine treatment,
  • Investigating the offender’s history for the courts,
  • Meeting with clients on a monthly or weekly basis,
  • Monitoring offenders to prevent them from committing new crimes,
  • Property searches,
  • Providing offenders with resources to aid rehabilitation
  • Revising case plans for updates on counseling services, employment, short and long term goals, the status of sobriety, obstacles, and probationer’s resources,
  • Testifying in court about their report findings, and
  • Writing progress reports

What is a probation officer’s work environment?

Other than working in an office setting, a probation officer may be assigned fieldwork in high-crime areas. The court may also require probation officers to do home and employment check-in visits, and POs are often needed for on-call shifts.

What soft skills are needed to be a probation officer?

Probation officers who have the below qualities find great success in the field:

  • Assertive,
  • Calm,
  • Compliance-focused,
  • Confident,
  • Emotionally intelligent,
  • Empathetic,
  • Kind,
  • Motivation-driven
  • Natural teachers,
  • Patient,
  • Social,
  • Time-management skills, and
  • Work well under pressure to make well-informed decisions.

Are you interested in becoming a probation officer? Check out our programs in Criminal Justice!

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