While today’s community supervision programs are implemented differently in every jurisdiction, their fundamental mission is consistent – to provide supervision of individuals convicted of crimes versus placing them in correctional facilities. Most common are probation and parole programs, completed in combination with other programming resources, such as a halfway house, day reporting, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and vocational training.
Ultimately, these programs have one mission -- to protect public safety by providing supervision that rehabilitates offenders and guides them back into society while minimizing new offenses.
As nationwide jurisdictions recognize the advantages of community corrections over incarceration in certain situations, demand for probation officers and correctional treatment specialists is increasing. The challenges and high-stress nature of the job itself however is an uphill battle. Understaffed, underfunded and presented with an overwhelming number of caseloads agencies are experiencing high turnover due to officer exhaustion, job dissatisfaction, and safety concerns.
The reality is that these issues won't be resolved anytime soon. As more offenders fail to meet supervisory conditions and public safety is negatively impacted, there is an urgent need for POs to work as efficiently and safely as possible.