Role and Duties of Probation Officers

Role and Duties of probation officers

The concept and practice of probation can be traced back to 1841, with John Augustus supervising offenders. However, the concept and practice has since morphed through assimilation into the American criminal justice system.

Today, probation is defined as a period within which an offender is placed under strict supervision(Schmalleger, 2016). This supervision is court ordered and serves as an alternative to serving prison time. Probation is an alternative to incarceration and is given to offenders who are found guilty of less serious offenses.

The overcrowding problem witnessed in American prisons; probation has gained massive strides because it offers the solution for rehabilitation without the need of commitment to prison. Convicts sentenced to serve probation are placed under the supervision of probation officers. As such, probation officers are tasked with a big responsibility of synthesizing the convict back to society. Most importantly this synthesis should occur without society having to deal with the risk of being prone to the criminal activities of the parolee.

Importance of parole officers

One of the primary tasks of probation officers relates to supervision of juvenile and adult criminal offenders in the community. This supervision is tailored to ensure that parole officers track offenders and ensure that they follow court orders and their parole conditions(Fagin, 2016). Additionally, parole officers serve as the link between the courts and the parolee, and in so doing they are under a duty to report the progress of the parolee.


Duties and Responsibilities of parole officers


Parole officers receive parolees through referrals. Once they are received parole officers are under a duty to initiate contact with the offender, their family, and any other relevant law enforcement personnel. In conducting their assessment, parole officers conduct home, school and work visits to gather all requisite information to implement the family involvement model.

This assessment is a central part of the parole process because it sheds light and gives insights on the best-suited strategies of granting the parole. These strategies are informed by the overall goal of parole which is to reform offenders and make them law-abiding citizens.

Case management

Upon completion of the comprehensive assessment, parole officers engage in case of management through sending out requests for employment, housing, work training, and education as the case may be (Schmalleger, 2016). The goal of parole is integration back into society; this integration may prove to be ineffective without the aid of a parole officer because convicts are less likely to get jobs forcing them to go back to their criminal behavior.

Court proceedings

Parole officers are under an obligation of accompanying their clients to court proceedings. The intention for this requirement is to support organizational recommendations for the parolee. They may confer and advocate with attorneys, court aids and other legal representatives with regards to information gathered or any other developments.

In representing their clients. Parole officers are under a duty to represent their clients in a fair, firm way that balances equity accountability, public safety, and needs of the society.

Interventions and supervision

In implementing their mandate, the duties of parole officers include intervening or increasing supervision levels in order to keep vigil and help their clients comply with the conditions of their parole(Morgan , 2016). This is done through risk assessment techniques during intake and is used to develop tailor cut strategies that best help the parolee to conform into a law-abiding citizen.

Impact of Technology on Parole

Parole officers are the eyes and ears of the courts and are under a duty to report any developments to the courts. In the past parole officers have struggled in implementing their duty because technology as at then did not help them in implementing their mandate.

However, the situation has since changed; technological developments have significantly aided parole officers. The development of electronic monitoring is a useful tool for supervising people on parole. By using electronic monitoring mechanisms, parole officers enjoy the privilege of tracking every movement(going to work or school) of the parole and determine if they are abiding to the terms of the probation. In the past parole officers had to implement impromptu visits on parolees to ascertain their location.

The development of social media has proved to be a very powerful tool in tracking people on parole. Millennials and generation z tend to post their lives on social media, through status updates and images. Parole officers enjoy the benefit of tracking this posts to determine the parolee’s commitment to reform.


Parole officers are an integral part of the criminal justice system. Their mandate is extremely important in achieving the goals of the criminal justice system by reforming criminals into law abiding citizens. Also parole officers are important players in the strategies of decongesting the penal institutions.

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