There are many different probation and officers typologies discussed below. 1)Based on the text and course notes below, what qualifications and/or education should be required for the job?
2)If you were a probation or parole officer, do you think you would fit any of these typologies? Explain your response.
Both adult and juvenile corrections have escalated during the last few decades. POs have assumed increased responsibilities and supervisory tasks in dealing with an increasingly diverse and dangerous clientele. In 2001 there were over 630,000 correctional personnel working in corrections, with about 60 percent of these working in probation and parole services. The functions of probation and parole services are to supervise offenders, insure offender compliance with program goals and provisions, conduct routine alcohol/drug checks, provide networking services for employment assistance, direct offender-clients to proper treatment, counseling, and other forms of assistance, protect the community by detecting a client’s program infractions and reporting them to judges or parole boards, assisting offenders in becoming integrated into their communities, and engaging in any useful rehabilitative enterprise that will improve offender-client skills.
The organization and administration of probation and parole services is most often within the scope of departments of corrections in most states. Services vary among the states, although there are common elements to all probation and parole services and programs. The complexity of organizational structure is highly dependent upon the nature of clientele supervised and their special needs. The rehabilitative aim of corrections has not been particularly successful. For this and other reasons, probation and parole departments have drawn extensive criticism from an increasingly discontent public. Criticisms have focused upon the lack of PO skills and training and the ineffectiveness of job performance. Professionalization through organizations such as the American Correctional Association, the American Jail Association, and the American Probation and Parole Association have attempted to raise standards relating to theselection,recruitment, and training of POs throughout the nation.
In 2005, POs averaged $23,000 in entry-level positions, while top PO positions reached $93,400. Few jurisdictions required bachelor’sdegreesfor PO work, however, a majority of POs had some college education or had completed college. Increased education is the primary means for improving one’s professionalization. Observers suggest that there is a high correlation between higher education achieved and work effectiveness among POs. Because of an increasingly ethnically and racially diverse clientele, POs have received additional training in cultural diversity. Some POs are recruited for dealing with special-offender populations where English is a second language. Assessment centersare used for PO training. One assessment center is the Florida Assessment Center, which focuses upon selecting and evaluating the best POsfor supervising offenders in a Florida community control program (FCCP).
One important issue which is being raised in greater numbers of jurisdictions is whether POs should have firearms authorization. About half the states authorized the use of firearms for POs in 1999. Other states without such provisions were considering legislation in 2001. There is a controversy over whether POs should go armed. Some persons feel that armed POs tend to provoke their clients, while others see going armed as a reasonable means of self-protection, particularly if POs must enter dangerous, gang-controlled neighborhoods to visit their clients. One of the hazards of PO work is the lawsuit syndrome, where clients sue POs for various reasons. Thus, a part of PO training is designed to acquaint them with the conditions and situations that are most likely to result in lawsuits. Thus, the potential for lawsuits can be avoided or minimized. POsare continually subjected to periodic evaluations to determine their competence in job performance. Labor turnover among POs averages about 15 percent per year. Most POs who leave the profession tend to seek better jobs in the private sector or graduate to federal employment where the pay and benefits are substantially greater than state compensation.
Another important issue is the matter of caseloads .Caseloads refer to the number of clients managed by POs in any state or federal agency. POs supervise offenders either intensively or generally, depending upon the programs imposed by judges and parole boards. No precise figures have been agreed upon as to what constitutes an optimum caseload size for POs. There are different caseload assignment models. These include the conventional model, the numbers-game model, the conventional model with geographic considerations, and thespecialized caseloads model. Officer-client interactions are affected by different factors, including the orientations of POs toward offenders. Some of these orientations are detectors, enablers, educators,mediators, and enforcers. Depending upon a PO’s orientation, interactions with clients are positively or negatively influenced. Some amount of role conflict therefore exists, as POs attempt to perform their jobs under different sets of circumstances established by each jurisdiction. Most POs belong to one or more organizations where codes of ethics have been established. These codes of ethics obligate POs to adhere to stringent behavioral guidelines in the performance of their jobs. It is expected that PO adherence to these codes of ethics will eventually improve their effectiveness and job performance, and that ultimately, client recidivismwill decline.
Probation and parole officers have formed unions and engage in collective bargaining in some states. Many of these unions are at local, county, and state levels, and all unionization is designed to achieve better conditions for POs. Issues involve pay, retirement benefits, caseloads and assignments, promotional opportunities, and various types of grievances about the job and its benefits. Each union has articulated objectives. Union representatives are authorized to negotiate contracts with city,county, state, and federal governments to determine pay scales, working hours and conditions, and other matters of relevance to their memberships. Unions also attempt to improve the quality of professionalism among their memberships by sponsoring annual conferences where workshops are conducted to learn various skills.
- P/P officers are often called line officers, or the troops.
The four primary tasks of Probation and Parole Officers are:
- Investigate: requires line officers to present an account of the offender s situation; to conduct a PSI
- Surveillance: an important activity in an effort to detect any behavior that may be dangerous.
- Assistance: Helping offenders with community adjustment; being a helper, using problem-solving skills to rehabilitate.
- Paperwork: Keeping case files, filling out forms, documenting activities, compiling the PSI.
Types of Line Officers to be familiar with are: (PAGE 483 & additional types)
- Punitive: a p/p officer characterized by a high commitment to control and a low commitment to assistance.(hardliner/maverick)
- Protective: a p/p officer characterized by a high commitment to both control and assistance.(team player)
- Welfare: a p/p officer characterized by a low commitment to control and a high commitment to assistance. (bleeding heart)
- Team Player: working together to meet a common goal; cooperative efforts; mutual assistance of all group members.
- Passive Officer:care little about the needs of society or their clients.
- Hardliner: unyielding; advocating a firm course of action.
- Maverick: an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party.
Requirements to be a p/p officer.
It is important to note that in order to be a probation and parole officer of excellent efficiency, you must be a good liaison to the courts, judges, police, sheriff, and clients. Also maintain good, influential relationships with contacts within social services.
A good p/p officer is well-respected.