Example Career: Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.
What Job Titles Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists Might Have
- Correctional Counselor
- Juvenile Probation Officer
- Probation and Parole Officer
- Probation Officer
What Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists Do
- Interview probationers and parolees regularly to evaluate their progress in accomplishing goals and maintaining the terms specified in their probation contracts and rehabilitation plans.
- Recommend remedial action or initiate court action in response to noncompliance with terms of probation or parole.
- Administer drug and alcohol tests, including random drug screens of offenders, to verify compliance with substance abuse treatment programs.
- Prepare and maintain case folder for each assigned inmate or offender.
- Discuss with offenders how such issues as drug and alcohol abuse and anger management problems might have played roles in their criminal behavior.
- Conduct prehearing and presentencing investigations and testify in court regarding offenders' backgrounds and recommended sentences and sentencing conditions.
- Inform offenders or inmates of requirements of conditional release, such as office visits, restitution payments, or educational and employment stipulations.
- Write reports describing offenders' progress.
- Arrange for medical, mental health, or substance abuse treatment services according to individual needs or court orders.
- Supervise people on community-based sentences, such as electronically monitored home detention, and provide field supervision of probationers by conducting curfew checks or visits to home, work, or school.
- Develop liaisons and networks with other parole officers, community agencies, correctional institutions, psychiatric facilities, and aftercare agencies to plan for helping offenders with life adjustments.
- Arrange for postrelease services, such as employment, housing, counseling, education, and social activities.
- Gather information about offenders' backgrounds by talking to offenders, their families and friends, and other people who have relevant information.
- Develop rehabilitation programs for assigned offenders or inmates, establishing rules of conduct, goals, and objectives.
- Develop and prepare packets containing information about social service agencies, assistance organizations, and programs that might be useful for inmates or offenders.
- Provide offenders or inmates with assistance in matters concerning detainers, sentences in other jurisdictions, writs, and applications for social assistance.
- Investigate alleged parole violations, using interviews, surveillance, and search and seizure.
- Recommend appropriate penitentiary for initial placement of an offender.
- Assess the suitability of penitentiary inmates for release under parole and statutory release programs and submit recommendations to parole boards.
- Participate in decisions about whether cases should go before courts and which court should hear them.
- Identify and approve work placements for offenders with community service sentences.
What Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists Should Be Good At
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Speech Clarity - The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
What Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists Need to Learn
- Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
- Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
- Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.