Many individuals who are charged of doing various crimes are entitled to a probation, instead of being sent behind bars. As these people are convicts, it becomes very essential to monitor their behavior and activities during this period. This is when the services of probation officers come into use. They are professionals whose primary aim is to keep an eye on such convicts, and not letting the offenders fall into other crimes. In some states, probation officers are also known as community supervision officers. Their services are required in places such as criminal courts, jails, and prisons.
Their primary job responsibility is to monitor convicts and to keep them away from getting involved in more crime. They have to conduct interviews with the convicts' family members, friends, acquaintances, and close ones regarding their behavior. They review and check the convicts' criminal records, police reports filed against them, and court-of-law transcripts regarding the case.
If the convict was or is a drug or alcohol addict, the probation officer participates in substance-abuse rehabilitation, counseling, and motivates him or her to live a good life ahead. He carries out all legal formalities relating to the case, that are required in the court of law. He studies behavior and activities of the convicts, prepares a detailed monthly report regarding the same, and submits it to the court.
He also needs to keep an elaborated record of the offender's neighborhood, places he frequents, his relatives' homes, etc. He has to approach community agencies and social societies to get certain services availed for the benefit of the probationers. If the convict is still involved in some crime, he may inform the court regarding the same, who would then carry out the required legal proceedings.
Juvenile probation officers are law professionals who supervise and monitor probationers under a certain age, somewhere around 17-18. They also work with law enforcement agencies to contribute in decreasing crime rate in their locality. A probation officer contacts the victim of the crime and gets crucial information that would be helpful in carrying out the investigation further.
If you want to become a probation officer, you will have to successfully complete a four-year degree in a field of criminal justice, correctional counseling, or law, and justice. In the federal field, you will also need at least two years of field work. Along with these educational requirements, some general behavioral skills and techniques are also required. You should have the capability to adjust and work with a variety of people with different thought processes, perspectives, personalities, and behavior. You should be patient, objective, and possess good oral and written communication skills. Other skills that are required include organizational abilities to handle complex tasks simultaneously, confidence, ability to speak publicly, like in the court of law, and the capability to remain calm in stressful and irritating circumstances with the probationers.
This is a suitable career opportunity for those who want to start out in the law enforcement field. This was just a general explanation of the probation officer job description. However, there are many other tasks and duties that they may have to perform, according to the requirements of the law.