What is a Parole Officer?

Parole OfficerOne of the most important professions in the legal world is that of a parole officer. These officers are the ones responsible for ensuing that convicted criminals follow all the requirements established in court during a trial or plea agreement hearing. They usually have a degree in criminal justice and strong organizational skills. If you have an interest in becoming one of these officers, you’ll usually need to enter college and gain familiarity with the court system in your area before applying.

Where They Work

A parole officer will generally work for the court system in a specific city. These officers often have their own offices located in either the courthouse or a building near the courthouse. They may work inside the courtroom as well. During a parole hearing, professionals will meet to discuss the facts surrounding the case and make a decision regarding whether an individual should receive parole. The officer may attend these meetings to talk about similar cases or to give recommendations regarding what parole terms the criminal should follow. Many also work in the field to verify that parolees work and live at the addresses listed on their forms.

What Officers Do on the Job

There are dozens things that a parole or probation officer may do every day. They may work with as many as 10 or more convicts every day, and some have more than 100 cases assigned to them. The officers attend meetings in and out of court, schedule appointments to meet with criminals and perform fieldwork as needed. An officer will meet with a criminal to discuss his or her progress and to ensure that each individual follows the rules imposed by the court. The court may demand that the criminal get a job, begin making restitution and/or meet with a therapist.

How to Become One

Becoming an officer of the court system begins when you enroll in an accredited college or university. You should enroll in a criminal justice system that teaches you how the system operates. Many students find it helpful to begin a program that has an internship component too. Doing a simple internship gives you more familiarity with the methods used by your local court system and can help you make connections with professionals working in your field. You will also need to submit an application to your local agency and pass a criminal background check too.

PO Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a parole officer working in the United States is around $49,000 a year or more than $23 an hour. These jobs usually come with additional benefits in the form of paid time off and health insurance as well. The BLS estimates that this career field will grow at a rate of 4%, which is slower than the national average across all jobs. Based on data from the BLS, there were more than 91,000 working in this field in 2014 and the field will add around 3,000 jobs in the future.

Related Resource: Forensic Investigator

Court officers like parole and probation officers work with criminals after those individuals leave prison or jail. They ensure that the criminals follow all the rules imposed on them to keep the community at large safe. Many colleges offer criminal justice programs that can prepare you for working as a parole officer.