One area of social work that has a reputation for being particularly tough to handle is that of working as a probation officer. While it can certainly be off putting as you will be working with criminals, becoming a probation officer is another avenue of helping people who need it the most.
Believe it or not, most offenders do not choose crime. Often the circumstances of life push them down that route and they need the help to be pulled out of it. You would be surprised at just how many former criminals have turned their lives around thanks to the fantastic support that they have received from their probation officer.
While your primary role is to monitor, supervise and report on the offenders placed under your watch, as a social worker you will no doubt have the ultimate goal of helping them turn their lives around.
What Does the Job Entail?
As mentioned previously, you will be working closely with offenders. You will be responsible for monitoring them and/or aiding them as they look to rehabilitate themselves back into normal society. You will be handling offenders either prior to their sentencing, after they have served their sentences or those that have been given probation instead of being sent to prison.
Probation officers can work in a number of different locations. It could be just outside of a prison, in a local office or in the courts themselves.
Your main duties as a probation officer include:
· Speaking to and guiding ex-offenders who need help being rehabilitated into society
· Investigating the offender's backgrounds
· Giving courts your recommendations on whether an offender is ready to be released back into society
· Producing detailed reports for the courts to assist them in their decisions on sentencing
· Being required to visit courts, prisons, and sometimes even the homes of offenders
Your overall role is to assess and monitor offenders and ex-offenders. Your reports will make a big difference in keeping the right people out of prison and the wrong people off the streets.
What Qualifications are Required?
You should hold at least a QCF Level 5 qualification which includes modules in the criminal justice system. If you do not hold the required modules, there is no need to worry as these can be obtained via a number of distant learning options that you can take up.
Are you ready for it?
Working as a probation officer will no doubt throw up good and bad days. You will not be able to help everyone as some just do not want to be helped. You will endure some stressful days with some difficult people but at the same time, you will be helping some that will be thankful that you have helped them turn a corner.
You will need to strong-willed, open-minded and professional. You will also need to know when to be compassionate and when to be assertive. If you think you have all of that and are interested in becoming a probation officer – we can help.