Being a probation officer is not easy. It requires a lot of knowledge, skills, and experience to be an effective probation officer. Having a golden heart is fine – believing that these offenders can change their lifestyle, supporting them in their intention to function in the community, and making sure that the people within the community where these offenders are staying would be safe from any danger. However, objectivity should always come first since many lives are dependent on the probation officer’s ability to supervise and monitor these offenders’ performance.
A probation officer also uses his resources in the community to assist his client, the offender in seeking employment or services such as medical care, alcohol treatment, mental health treatment, and the like. The probation officer explains all the terms to the offender’s temporary release and the consequences for violating them under probation. Everything is made clear.
In the case of this 22-year-old man who have been convicted four times in two years straight for driving while under the influence of alcohol, thorough investigation should be done. This man may be telling his substance abuse counselor that he is clean. He may be present in all his counseling appointments. Nevertheless, these claims do not prove that he has stopped alcohol consumption. Furthermore, having eccentric ideas and opinions – this man telling you that his neighbors are monitoring his breathing through the television – proves that there is something terribly wrong about this person. So, what do I plan to do about the matter?
First, researching and investigating about this man’s personal history , such as his family to start with, would be a good start. Knowledge about his childhood, his relationship with his co-family members, and his plight during his growing-up years are vital information in knowing how and why he acquired such behavior, vices, and even beliefs that he still carry on up to this day.
A background check of his life three to five years prior the present date could also come in handy. Past relationships usually contribute to a person’s perspective and sanity. Another background check would be his scholastic and interpersonal performance in school given that he went into one. Based from his interaction with these people, I might find clues to some grounds as to why and how this person came to be the way he is.
Second, talking with this man would give me hints and clues about the way he thinks, the way he answers questions – may it be rational, practical or not, and the way he views the world. Upon acquiring his personal background, a brief interview about his family and previous relations with others would somehow prove if this man is reliable or not. This would be necessary because inconsistencies on his statements would prove irregularity of his character, therefore making him a threat, somehow, to the community.
Third, I would discuss with his substance abuse counselor all my findings so we could come up with proper procedures needed to prove his mental capability or incapability. I would suggest that the substance abuse officer gives my client some intellectual tests because my client is showing signs of a paranoid schizophrenic or of a person just having paranoid reactions that may be due to depression or trauma
Fourth, I would require my client to undergo not only the psychological tests that his substance abuse counselor would give him but also a series of physical exams for instance urinalysis, blood tests, and the like to see if he really is clean or if he went back to alcohol or worse took other substances and mixed it with alcohol altering the effects of the alcohol-intake alone.
Fifth, I would reiterate to my client the sanctions that he might be subjected to if his tests prove that he is positive of alcohol and/or substance intake. Such are necessary actions for me to accurately and objectively assess him and propose certain measures.
Civil Service Associations, Inc. (August 2000). Examination Preparation Booklet.. Principles and Practices in the Treatment of the mentally Ill/Emotionally Disturbed, Problems of the Mentally Ill/Emotionally disturbed, booklet #10. pp. 4-5. Retrieved October 10, 2007, from
Court and Community. (January 2003). Probation Officers. p2, numbers 4 – 6 . Retrieved October 10, 2007, from
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