When a judge hands someone a sentence of time on probation, the individual often has major issues to sort out. Probation officers and correctional treatment specialists help people on probation get reestablished in a positive direction, and avoid further trouble. These officers and specialists work with individuals who are given probation instead of jail time, who are still in prison, or who have been released from prison. Work starts with meetings to form a rehabilitation plan. The plan might include any supports needed for the individual’s success, such as housing, substance abuse treatment, legal help, mental health counseling, or job training, as well as an agreement about regular check-ins. Documentation of meetings and activities is a significant part of the job. As a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist, you can expect to encounter visits to hostile environments, strict court-imposed deadlines, and the frustration of seeing some of your clients violate the terms of their release. State and local government facilities employ the majority of these workers, where on-call shifts may be required in addition to full-time work. Typically, a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as criminal justice or social work, is required. Extensive training on the job is provided. Candidates must pass competency tests, drug tests, and a criminal background check. In this field, you must be both strong and compassionate, to help your clients build a better future.
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