In Summary - Probation Officer
Probation Officers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
The Work - Probation Officer
Probation and Welfare Officers assist the Court in reaching its decision by supplying pre-sanction reports on persons who have committed offences. The reports outline the health, social, educational and vocational circumstances of the offender as well as the attitude of the offender to his/her crime.
If an offender is placed on probation or under supervision, the Officer's duty is to assist, guide and befriend the offender in an attempt to lead him/her into a useful law-abiding life; to see that the conditions required by the Court are observed; to help with personal problems and to report progress.
The Courts have power to order a person aged sixteen years or over, convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment, to perform unpaid work or service to the community. Probation and Welfare Officers are required to prepare reports satisfying the Court that the offender is a suitable person to perform work under a Community Service Order and advising the Court that arrangements can be made for him/her to perform such work.
Voluntary organisations and statutory bodies are contacted by Probation and Welfare Service staff with a view to securing suitable placements for offenders; the Probation and Welfare Officer has the responsibility and duty of supervising the offender and ensuring that the order of the Court is carried out.
Probation and Welfare Officers in prisons and other places of custody are concerned with helping people who are committed to custody to cope with their imprisonment. They help offenders to evaluate the significance of their sentence with reference to their own personal lives, to their families, to their communities and to their victims. They make themselves available in a counselling role to offenders and their families. Personal and social circumstances are assessed and programmes are devised to meet the offenders' needs in conjunction with other disciplines working in the custodial system.
The Probation and Welfare Officer offers counselling on a wide range of problems and liaises with other disciplines both within the prison system and in the community in order to help an offender resolve personal difficulties. In some selected cases, the Service is available to offenders who serve out the remaining part of their sentence under the supervision of a Probation and Welfare Officer in the community. This enable
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Interview probationers and parolees regularly to evaluate their progress in accomplishing goals and maintaining the terms specified in their probation contracts and rehabilitation plans.
- Recommend remedial action or initiate court action in response to noncompliance with terms of probation or parole.
- Administer drug and alcohol tests, including random drug screens of offenders, to verify compliance with substance abuse treatment programs.
- Prepare and maintain case folder for each assigned inmate or offender.
- Discuss with offenders how such issues as drug and alcohol abuse and anger management problems might have played roles in their criminal behavior.
- Conduct prehearing and presentencing investigations and testify in court regarding offenders' backgrounds and recommended sentences and sentencing conditions.
- Inform offenders or inmates of requirements of conditional release, such as office visits, restitution payments, or educational and employment stipulations.
- Write reports describing offenders' progress.
- Arrange for medical, mental health, or substance abuse treatment services according to individual needs or court orders.
- Supervise people on community-based sentences, such as electronically monitored home detention, and provide field supervision of probationers by conducting curfew checks or visits to home, work, or school.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Interests - Probation Officer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and are drawn to commerce, trade and making deals. Some pursue sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or in management roles in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
You must be committed to helping offenders break the cycle of crime and protecting public safety
You need excellent communication skills, to express yourself confidently and persuasively in court, establish a constructive relationship with offenders and to work closely with probation officers and other professionals within the criminal justice system
You must be able to listen carefully, and ask the right questions to find out more about the offence, and the offender's social and financial circumstances. You must also know when to be firm and assertive, and how to defuse potential confrontations. The ability to work with people who have the potential to be violent is a vital skill
To produce social enquiry reports, you will need strong written skills and the ability to construct clear, logical, well-reasoned, impartial and objective recommendations.
The work is emotionally demanding and involves making difficult decisions.
Entry Requirements - Probation Officer
Pay & Salary - Probation Officer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 27k - k
Last Updated: April, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Probation Officer
Useful Contacts - Probation Officer
Prison Officers' Association
Probation and Welfare Service
Irish Association of Social Workers
Department of Justice and Equality
Public Appointments Service
Irish Prison Service