You may have heard the terms probation and parole before. These are often used interchangeably, but they are actually very different. Parole is the early release of a prisoner subject to good behavior when they have been serving a term of incarceration. By contrast, probation involves a defendant serving a period of supervision in lieu of incarceration.
An individual tasked with supervising someone on probation is a probation officer. What exactly does this role entail?
The rehabilitative process
In many cases, individuals land in trouble with the law as a result of addiction and/or tough circumstances. A probation officer can assist in helping someone to navigate their way out of a challenging situation. In practical terms, this may involve pointing them in the right direction in terms of employment and addiction treatment, if required.
Typically, the individual who has been sentenced to probation will have to attend regular meetings with their designated probation officer. The probation officer can then document their attendance, with routine attendance reflecting well on the person on probation. In exceptional circumstances, it may not be possible for a meeting to occur and it is up to the probation officer to communicate with the court and inform them why the meeting did not take place.
In some cases, the family of the person on probation may be heavily involved in someone’s rehabilitation. It can be beneficial for family meetings to take place, which the probation officer can arrange and organize. This approach can be particularly useful for young offenders.
If you are on probation, then it is vital that you meet the conditions laid down by the court. If you have been accused of violating these terms, it is pivotal that you seek some legal guidance, as you may otherwise end up incarcerated.