Probation Officer Case Study

651 Words3 Pages
Probation officers comprise a large and important part of the criminal justice system. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at the end of 2014, there were 4.7 billion people under probation supervision (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014). In years past, probation officers were primarily agents of the court, meaning we worked with the court to ensure that probationers were abiding by the special conditions set forth by the court. Within the last decade, the state of Missouri’s, Division of Probation and Parole implemented the evidence-based practice (EBP) model. According to the Crime Justice Institute (2004), EBP refers to approaches and interventions that have been scientifically tested in controlled studies and proven effective.…show more content…
According to Taxman (1999, 2004) while implementing EBP, probation officers conduct risk assessments, collaborate with offenders to create problem-oriented case plans addressing criminogenic needs, match offenders to appropriate services, model pro-social behavior, and use enhanced communication and motivational interviewing techniques to promote cognitive restructuring and behavioral change ( as cited in Taxman, 1999; Taxman, Shepardson, & Byrne, 2004). We have to dig into the lives of the offenders under probation supervision to find out what makes them tick, what makes them angry, what their issues are, what their hopes and dreams are and try to connect them with programs to support their needs. Probation officers are required to connect and engage with offenders more than in the past. The probation officer’s interaction and communication style is one the most important factors in reducing recidivism. While the ability to empathize is what makes probation officers most effective in their work, it also makes them more vulnerable, “because empathy is the pathway through which trauma is vicariously transferred” (Lewis, 2013). Unfortunately, exposure to trauma is all in a day’s work for probation…show more content…
We are constantly under scrutiny, if an offender doesn’t feel like they’re being treated fairly, they lodge a complaint and we are assumed guilty until proven innocent. Exposure to secondary trauma has become a major issue since the implementation of EBP. Secondary (indirect) traumatic stress (STS) also termed compassion fatigue occurs when professionals begin to experience trauma symptoms as a result of their exposure to the pain and suffering of others. Trauma exposure begins immediately upon an offender being placed on probation. We as officers are exposed to traumatic material such as police reports, victim interviews, offender interviews, assessment of criminal and social histories, and home visits. In the last twenty years, there has been consistent research to support the idea that, helping professionals are impacted by the traumatic experiences of those they serve (Figley, 2002; Lipsky & Burk, 2009; Pearlman & Mac Ian, 1995). However, there has been little research conducted regarding the individual and professional impact of trauma exposure on probation officers,

More about Probation Officer Case Study

Open Document