Probation and parole officers supervise offenders who have been placed on community-based orders by the courts, as well as offenders released on parole from prison.
Personal requirements of a Probation and Parole Officer
- Able to work in a team environment
- Mature, patient, tolerant and discrete
- Able to assess people and situations
- Interest in people and their welfare
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Australian citizenship or permanent residency
Education & Training for a Probation and Parole Officer
You can work as a probation and parole officer without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job.
Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in community services, counselling or a related field. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.
You can also become a probation and parole officer by studying behavioural science, social work, social science, criminology, justice studies or psychology at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Most universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.
Duties & Tasks of a Probation and Parole Officer
Probation and parole officers may perform the following tasks:
- manage and supervise offenders who have received community-based supervision orders (community service, home detention, probation or parole, for example) and ensure that they comply with the relevant order conditions
- monitor home detainees by means of home visits and electronic monitoring technology, and report all breaches of conditions
- develop and implement community-based work programs
- assess suitability, placement and management of offenders granted community service orders and fine option orders
- interview offenders, their families, employers and educators to obtain information
- submit reports and recommendations on whether parole should be granted
- provide advice to assist the courts in determining the suitability of offenders to be placed on community-based orders
- assist offenders to obtain employment
- identify the risks and needs of offenders and refer them to appropriate programs and/or external agencies
- advise parolees and those on community-based orders on matters such as education, employment, finance, housing and other community services that may assist in their rehabilitation
- conduct regular interviews with offenders and report on their progress
- maintain contact with families to help solve problems of readjustment and rehabilitation
- assist in preparing briefs for prosecuting offenders who fail to comply with community-based orders or breach parole conditions
- maintain and develop offender records and administrative procedures
- take part in staff development and training programs, and provide training to new staff
- participate on various committees to assist in policy, practice and community development.
Working conditions for a Probation and Parole Officer
Probation and parole officers may work in an office or in non-institutionalised community corrections centres. A proportion of their time is spent in court and visiting prisons to interview and assess offenders and prisoners.