Robinson, Stephanie - Parole Officer

From What can you do with a degree in psychology?

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[edit] Parole Officer (Stephanie Robinson)

[edit] General overview

Parole officers assist in keeping public safety, by ensuring the proper management and supervision of offenders who are completing their sentence within the community. Parole officers work with a team of other professionals, such as psychologists and correctional officers, in order to assess the behaviours of the offenders’ as accurately as possible. They work either within a correctional facility, or amongst the community[1]

[edit] Job duties and responsibilities

Parole officers use their own professional judgment, along with structured policies in order to complete written reports on the offenders. They provide their gathered information, and their recommendations to Correctional Service Canada and the Parole Board of Canada. Parole officers assist the judge in deciding whether or not an offender should be released on parole[1]. Once the offender(s) is/are released on parole, they keep in constant contact with the offender(s) that they are working with. The offender and parole officer work together to develop suitable treatments and programs in order to transfer them back into the community and to focus on the issues that lead to their deviance originally[1]. Services such as counselling, anger management, group therapy, work/school assistance, and others are offered and implemented into the parole process. In order to maintain an accurate profile of the offenders and how they are progressing, parole officers keep in contact with other sources, such as family, friends, the community, and the case management team[1]. Parole officers are responsible for completing paper work on each offender, and maintaining and updating the information of each offender continuously using the proper paper work[1].

[edit] Typical workday

Typically, a parole officer will work in many settings throughout the day, such as a courthouse, prisons, offenders’ homes, or offenders’ workplaces. Parole officers often must work later hours in the evening, or on weekends, especially when making times to meet with the offenders or their sources[2]. A parole officer may work with large groups of individuals some days, such as with corrections staff, or co-workers, and take part in court cases and meetings. On the other hand, a parole officer may also work on their own in many cases, in order to complete research, information on their caseloads of offenders, book various appointments, and to complete paperwork[2].

[edit] Educational requirements and other qualifications

To become a parole officer in Canada, you must obtain a degree of psychology, sociology, criminology, social work, or a related field. Some positions may accept a college diploma in a relevant area, along with some related experience. In many cases, those who possess experience with social services override other applicants. In Ontario, prospective parole officers must complete a specific training program once hired as a parole officer[3]. The training program ensures the new officers know what to expect and how to interact with offenders and the whole parole process. Aside from education, prospective parole officers must have strong written, communication, counselling, and assessment skills. They must also be able to maintain client based and work based relationships[3]. Once the initial training is completed, no other training or certificates are required of the officers. As for different regions across Canada, most provinces hold similar requirements of parole officers, however some provinces do not accept a college diploma as a valid education requirement, and only accept a University Undergraduate Degree.

[edit] Related skills, interests, and abilities

To be a parole officer, one must acquire strong interpersonal skills. Strong written and verbal communication skills are key, as much of the job consists of writing paperwork and discussing offenders with the parole board, the judge, sources of information, and the offender themselves. Parole officers often work with many offenders at a time, and work alongside a team of other professionals, thus time management is also a key skill to acquire. Finally, the ability to have good judgement is crucial, specifically for parole officers as they are using their own judgments to assess offenders’ behaviours and often use it to determine whether or not an offender is able to finish their sentence in the community[4].

[edit] Relevance of Psychology undergraduate degree

Many psychology courses are relevant to a career in parole and corrections officers, but there are a few that specifically stand out. Firstly, forensic psychology courses directly relate to the career of a parole officer. In these courses, corrections and similar fields are examined. The career description and duties of the officer are discussed, and how this career choice relates to forensic psychology. Courses on the Psychology of violent predators also relate to the career of a parole officer, as in depth studies of different kinds of offenders, and what goes on in their minds are discussed in class. A large concept discussed in both forensic psychology and violent predators is recidivism rates of offenders. Understanding the risks and what to watch out for in terms of possibilities of reoffending is directly related to the job as a parole officer. Officers work closely with offenders coming out of prison, who have often served time for many deviant acts. Learning about different types of offenders, their possible trends and characteristics, and the possibilities of why they did or what was going through their mind when they did it can be relevant when working with offenders. Lastly, the personality psychology course can relate to being a parole officer. Learning about different personalities, and understanding the behaviours associated with these personalities, can help parole officers when they notice certain behaviours in the offenders. For example, if a parole officer notices one of their clients is being superficial or not acting in a way that is how they truly feel, he/she can look deeper into what is going on in the mind of the offender, and would be able to better assess the individual appropriately.

[edit] Salary potential

Parole officers can earn anywhere between $45,000 and $85,000 a year. Employed by the government, parole officers are also offered benefits, including health, dental, paid vacations and pension plans[2]. According to the Alberta Government, hourly wages for starting positions can begin around $28.99, and can reach to approximately $46. 58 an hour for experienced officers[4]. Salary can also depend on the area in which the parole officers are working. For example, a rural area may not provide parole officers with as much work or as many caseload offenders as a higher volume urban area does, therefore they would not have as high of an expected salary as others. As well, each province may pay parole officers different wages depending on the volume of offenders with eligibility of parole and the amount of parole officers needed.

[edit] Job outlook

Job outlook depends on many factors. Parole officers are needed more often in bigger cities with prisons and generally more offenders. Job turnover is also a factor, as it depends on how many positions become available and how many officers are leaving their positions. According to the Alberta Government website, job outlook is expected to slightly increase as the baby boom population begins to retire over the next few years[4].

[edit] To know more

For more information on a career as a Parole Officer, please visit:

http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/corr_serv/careers_in_corr/careers_pp_officer/careers_pp_officer.html
http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/careers/003001-1103-eng.shtml
http://public.careercruising.com/en/
http://occinfo.alis.alberta.ca/occinfopreview/info/browse-occupations/occupation-profile.html?id=71001858


[edit] Notes and References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Correction Service Canada (2015). Parole Officer. Retrieved from: http://www.csc-scc.gc.ca/careers/003001-1103-eng.shtml.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 . Probation Officer. Retrieved from: https://www2.careercruising.com/careers/profile-at-a-glance/348.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Ontario Government (2015). Correctional Services, Becoming a probation and parole officer. Retrieved from: http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/corr_serv/careers_in_corr/careers_pp_officer/careers_pp_officer.html.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Alberta Government (2015). Occupational Profile: Parole or probation officer. Retrieved from: http://occinfo.alis.alberta.ca/occinfopreview/info/browse-occupations/occupation-profile.html?id=71001858.
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