What Is Probation?

Probation is a court ordered sanction that allows a person to remain in the community under the supervision of a probation officer. The conditions of this community-based supervision can vary. It could include jail time, fines, restitution, community service, or other sanctions.

Probation can also require counseling, drug/alcohol restrictions, weapons restrictions and offender reporting to their probation officer. If the person does not follow the rules of their probation, they could go back before a judge and be sent to jail or prison.

The mission of probation is to ensure public safety. Every citizen has the right to be free from fear of harm to their
person and property.

What is a Probation Officer and What Do They Do?

A probation officer is someone who supervises a person who has been placed on probation. Some of the officers’
job duties include: 
  •  Assessing for offender risks and needs.
  • Monitoring compliance with court orders. Assisting offenders in obtaining needed services.
  • Overseeing the rehabilitative efforts of the offenders.
  • Preparing reports and recommendations for the court.
  • Conducting offender work and home visits.
  • Administering drug tests.
  • Providing support and help to victims in securing restitution.       
      
Probation officers must become competent in addressing the following issues: drug and alcohol abuse, sexual offenses, anti-social behavior, child abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness.
 
Who Do Probation Officers Work With?

Probation officers work hand in hand with community groups and social service agencies to provide offenders and victims with the support and services they need. Probation officers maintain partnerships with law enforcement and other justice agencies so the agencies can benefit from the expertise of each other and share information on criminal activity.