As a probation officer you job will be to monitor and rehabilitate offenders who are on parole.
A probation officer will work with the law enforcement authorities like the police and courts to rehabilitate convicted offenders and to ensure they abide by the terms of their parole. They do this by various means from enforcing court orders to helping released prisoners settle back into society, and help them find accommodation in half way houses etc.
This is a very challenging job as you are mostly working with people who have been convicted of offences and are on parole or who have served their sentence and have been recently released from prison on license back into the community.
As you can imagine in a role like this you must have very good personal communication skills, as well as written and spoken skills. As you will be talking to offenders and victims of crime offering advice and counselling and support. You will spend a considerable amount of time making written notes so the ability to have administrative skills is handy. You must be able to and prepared to work as part of a team as you will be regularly liaising with the police authorities as well as the courts and judicial system.
You will be based in a office having meetings with your clients, although you will spend a fair amount of time attending courts and also prisons on a regular basis. You will interview offenders and prisoners and make a assessment of their community orders and monitor whether they are abiding by any curfews or supervision orders against them. You will also work with councils and local authorities in helping them to find shelter in hostels or bed sits. Those offenders who are drug addicts you will arrange for them to be admitted to a drug rehabilitation centre. Other work you will be doing is writing up pre-sentence reports of a prisoners profile and behavior, and presenting them to magistrates or parole review boards. Probation officers also meet with the parents and friends of offenders to ask about those they are monitoring to build a picture of their lives.
Under certain circumstances officers can take disciplinary action against convicted criminals and ask for specific prison sentences for the offenders, or request they be returned to a prison.
The average hours of work will be about 36 hours per week, Monday to Friday 9am till 5pm.
The basic salary of a trainee qualified probation officer is in the region of £17,000 rising up to £26,000 once they have qualified.
Training and qualifications
Most probations officer jobs stipulate that applicants must have finished a two-year Diploma in Probation Studies [DipPS], regardless of any other degrees that you may have.
Any interest or previous experience in criminology or social worker and rehabilitation would be a major advantage.