What are the responsibilities of a probation officer and what type of person does it take to become one? Those wishing to find out more; please read on.
The need for probation officers:
Any person convicted of a crime may be reprimanded by courts of law on probation in lieu of serving a jail sentence. Those who are convicted of a crime and given a custodial sentence are also subjected to a probationary period upon completion of their jail sentence.
When a probationary order is given the offender needs someone to be responsible for them and to ensure they abide by the conditions of the probationary sentence imposed. That person is known as a probation officer.
What type of person will fit this role?
Probation officers can be any gender, come from all walks of life and have different religious beliefs.
They are generally classed as social workers or court officers who are employed by the government’s probation service.
An ability to get along with all kinds of people from a wide range of backgrounds and constantly maintain a fair-minded approach is a key requirement for all probation officers.
Such a role is not for the faint-hearted or those who are easily discouraged. It is inevitable that resentment and potential conflict from the offenders themselves as well as family and acquaintances will be encountered from time to time.
Having said this, the rewards in terms of successfully seeing a person through such a period of their lives are to be admired.
Helping those on probation to reintegrate into a peaceful social environment while abiding by the law is certainly a challenge, but it is a challenge that probation officers pride themselves on achieving.
Many offenders and ex-offenders will have behavioural, emotional and psychological issues to overcome. This means probation officers will regularly face stressful situations that need to be handled with the aim of helping such individuals better themselves.
Major roles and responsibilities:
As we mentioned at the beginning of the piece, the major role and responsibility of a probation officer is to supervise offenders who are under a probation order. Their task is to help these individuals lead law-abiding lives.
To achieve this a probation officer will be required to perform multiple tasks. Here are just 8 that are particularly significant:
- Provision of offender information and advice to the courts in order to assist with sentencing
- Report writing and presentation duties. This includes the submission of pre-sentencing and pre-release reports of offenders
- Establishing a relationship with offenders and assisting them to come to terms with any custodial sentence handed down
- Holding one-on-one and group work activities
- Getting involved with, and overseeing any community service work initiatives
- Rehabilitation assistance to reintegrate ex-offenders back into the community
- Regular visits to courts of law, prisons, recognised hostels, other institutions and the homes of offenders
- Regular liaison with local authorities, social services and the police
Have you got what it takes?
There is no doubt that those choosing to become probation officers will need to be able to face and cope with stressful situations. This needs to be carried out with confidence, assertiveness and an open mind.
Maturity in terms of the stance you take as each situation develops must be seen as an asset and team working, administrative duties and oral as well as written communication skills are strong requirements.
While the responsibilities of a probation officer are many, the rewards in terms of helping others find a better place in society are certainly to be applauded.
SWlocums is one of the best social work agencies London has to offer. Please feel free to contact us today if you are looking for work in this industry.