Get A Bachelors Degree And Become A Parole Officer
Just because a person did their time doesn't mean they've completely paid for the crime. As everyone knows about the American criminal justice system, many former prisoners are released from incarceration before they have completed their sentence. This doesn't mean they are completely free. Usually part of their release is to report regularly to a parole officer.
Also called community supervision officers, their job is to keep a steady eye on those on parole. They are often confused with probation officers, whose responsibilities are slightly different. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a probation officer only deals with those who were found guilty of a crime but not incarcerated. Parole officers deal primarily with former prisoners. It's very common for people to do both, depending on the state they live in.
Basically, a parole officer's responsibility is to keep an eye on released prisoners. They don't do it alone; they often do it in conjunction with community groups. They have their charges report to their offices on a regular basis and they are also required to visit the former prisoner and anyone related to them at their homes, place of employment or wherever else is necessary. The idea is to ensure the parolee has been living up to the terms of his or her release. If not, it may involve re-incarceration.
As these are governmental jobs, much of one's career is dependent on state and federal budgets. This is often a two-edged sword. Budget cuts could mean more prisoners being released before serving their full sentence, thus increasing an officer's work load. Of course, a budget cut could also mean laying off parole officers, which again increases the work load.
At the present time though, it seems the general public wants to keep as much of the criminal justice system intact as possible. This also includes some of the populace desiring it be larger with more prisons, police and parole officers. As it stands, the Bureau estimates growth in the parole field will actually grow faster than the national average, at just under 20% between now and 2018.
For those interested in entering the field, a four year bachelor's program is an absolute must. One should look for an on campus or online college that offers degrees in social science, humanities, criminal justice, psychology or something related. Those with the right kind of experience, such as police officers, often can find employment with just a few extra courses.
Salary is highly dependent on the state one works in. On the low end it can go to just below $30,000, although the average is $45,000. Some states do pay as much as $60,000 and, again according to the Bureau, the upper 10% in the profession make around $78,000. One's benefit package is also highly dependent on the state.
Those attending classes at an online college will find all the prep work for a degree, as well as any classes pertinent to the profession the student wishes to enter. As it stands, the overall outlook for parole officers appears good. It's not a position many think about for a long time career, thus many positions are open. An online criminal justice degree will prepare the student to enter a rewarding profession.
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