Pardon my long response. I haven’t thought about being a probation officer so much as I have in the past couple months. It was such a sad time.
Probation was my first job out of college, and I have to stress this was all a short-term experience. It was all in Iowa. I had been an intern for a year in the probation office. Then, a probation officer went on maternity leave for six months, and I was hired as a temporary officer in her place. I was assigned to co-run the sex offenders treatment group (suggesting they weren’t getting high quality treatment — a newly graduated, bachelor’s-trained p.o.). I did PSIs, testified a few times, had her case load, etc.
But here’s the thing. I wanted to be a juvenile probation officer all along. However, during the intern phase, they rejected me because three of my brothers had been in the system. I was livid. The whole reason I had wanted to be a juvenile probation officer was that the officer who ended up with one of my brothers did an amazing job. That brother grew as a person and did better. Another of my brothers had a seriously awful p.o. and his outcomes were similarly awful. I had this dream at the time of being someone like the good officer.
I had never been in trouble with the law. Yet, they held my family issues against me. I ended up walking away from both adult and juvenile probation.
Adult probation was a paperwork mill that I never saw “helping” people improve their situation. I mean unless things have changed dramatically in 25 years. Yeah. Right.
Thank you, too! I think public defenders are unsung heroes. I’m sure you’re overworked and underpaid.