What Does it Take to Become a Probation and Parole Officer?
Probation and parole officers share the same common goal: protect the public. They are responsible for assisting ex-offenders into a life in a free community and work them toward leading useful and productive lives. The work environment for these two officers can be dangerous and it is important for them to obtain knowledge of their community and become familiar with local traditions, customs, cultures, and values. Probation and parole officers must have good writing skills, analytical skills and people skills. Graduation from a four-year accredited college with a major in one of the social sciences is also necessary.
Probation officers oversee adult and juvenile offenders for a fixed period of time who have been convicted but instead of serving time in a correctional facility, they receive a suspended sentence. Parole officers supervise adult and juvenile offenders who have spent part of their time in a correctional facility. They help people on parole to establish a crime-free life outside of the correctional facility.
Probation officers are only hired by the county while parole officers are hired by the state. All Parole officers are required to carry a firearm. Probation officers are only required to carry a firearm in some counties. The usual caseload of a parole officer is around 80 – 120 while probation officers can range anywhere from 60 – 150. Parole officers must make regular visits to clients and they cover a larger geographical area, so they are often out of the office.
Whether you are considering a position as a parole or probation officer, there are many qualities and requirements you must have. You should be able to deal effectively with people beyond basic instruction, work under stress, and see details and errors in written materials. You must be certified by the Corrections Commission of the Michigan Department of Corrections and pass the Michigan Civil Service exam. For more information on the requirements of probation and parole officers, visit Michigan.gov.