The parole officer I spoke with at the Solaces County Department of Probation and Parole was very easy to talk to. After he told me that he was both a probation and parole officer, I asked him a series of questions pertaining to his experience as a parole officer. In the course of things, I was very nervous and I forgot to ask for his name. By the time I came to this realization, their office was closed for the weekend. What are the benefits of working as a parole officer? He stated that he loved that he id not have to work with the courts.
He went on to say instead of the courts, he must go thru Administrative Law for parole violations. Unlike probation, with parole he does not need an arrest warrant to detain the parolees he supervises. However, parolees do still have some basic civil rights. How did you get into the position of parole officer? He stated that he came off active duty in ’97. He was in the Army for some time, until he left that to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Upon completing his degree program, he went on to apply for the position of probation officer in several efferent districts.
Within a couple of months, Solaces County called him to offer a position. He went from a DOC prison guard to a probation officer. What are the “down falls” in being a parole officer? He said that with all the problems with overcrowding, it is hard to send someone back to prison. Getting the administration to revoke someone’s early release is difficult. However, it is possible, especially if the parolee has committed serious offenses. What is the worst experience you have encountered as a parole officer? 8 years ago he went to a parolee’s house.
He pounded on the door and nobody answered. All of a sudden a pack of dogs came running out and went after him. However, he was able to make it to his car. He also stated that he eventually caught up with the person and sent them back to prison. He went on to say that, that was the worst experience he had encountered so far. And yes they were pit bulls. What does a normal day of a parole officer consist of? He stated that the first thing he does every morning when he gets work is check the Jail to see if any of his parolee’s had been arrested or had a run in with the law.
Then there is a certain day of the week that his parolee’s report as required by him. He also stated that Friday is his court testimony day. The rest of the time he is writing reports, doing “arrest runs”, or reviewing reports to make decisions. Do you have any recommendations for me as I enter the criminal Justice field? He said although everyone thinks this is a crazy notion, he highly recommends working for the DOC as a guard before investing in a career as a parole officer; that way you can “get a feel” for the face to face encounters with convicted criminals.
He went on to say, if you have a bachelor’s degree, you don’t have to take the Michigan civil servants exam, Just the physical fitness exam. What is the best experience you have encountered as a parole officer? He stated that the best experience he has had is when he gets the worst kind of people off the street. A couple of years ago, he had a warrant for a man that had violated his parole. He phoned the state police to inquire about any possible undercover work in progress. After confirming that there was not, the state police decided to assist him in the delivery of the arrest warrant.
The police surrounded the house, while he went to the door to knock and announce. The man’s girlfriend answered the door. He asked the girlfriend a series of questions. After a couple of minutes, the state police barged in to search for the parolee. During which they found stolen guns and lots of drugs. The parolee went back to prison for the violation and received more time for the new charges. Why did you choose to get into the criminal Justice field? He said, with his ex-wife hounding him to get a Job, he applied for several positions. The DOC was the first one to call him back.
He went in for a paycheck and ended up staying because he really loves his Job. What are the basics of the Michigan parole system? He said those that are given the possibility of parole don’t always get parole. Even if you do everything right or according to the rules, you may never get parole. You can go through parole multiple times and never be approved. He listed some things that are off limits to all parolees, these include no guns, no alcohol serving facilities, no contact with other felons, and report when told. How is parole different from probation?
He told me that probation and parole are like comparing summer and winter. He says, probation is under courts, one has the right to a hearing, you have to have a warrant, one must be given a reasonable bond, and one must be charged within 72 hours of arrest. He also says, parole does not count as time served, if you get hearings they are totally different, you don’t have to have a warrant to arrest parolees, and on the say so of the parole officer, he can hold someone indefinitely without ever filing charges. I am not interested in a career as a probation or parole officer.
I want to attend the police academy and become a police officer. I eventually want to move up in ranks to detective. I thought of working as a parole or probation officer between getting my associates and getting hired as a police officer. However, I found out that a parole or probation officer requires a bachelor’s degree. By the time I receive my bachelor’s I plan to be either in or close to my position as a police officer. References Probation/Parole Officer. (2014). Solaces County Department of Probation and Parole. Phone Interview by Josh Starkey.