What Does a Parole Officer Do? - Video
A Parole Officer works with criminals who have been released from prison prior to their sentence being up. They may be talked about interchangeably with probation officers, but the two are different areas of specialty. POs works with criminals or offenders to make sure they do not re-offend and to offer their assistance in adjusting back to a normal life in the community.
A Parole Officer is someone who works intimately with criminals, supervising their release from prison. These offenders serve the rest of their prison sentence in the community typically because of good behavior while in prison. A Parole Officer's role is distinguished from a probation officer who works with criminals placed on probation instead of a prison sentence. In some areas, however, these roles are interchangeable. Both positions require similar skills and perform similar duties.
POs may have anywhere from 70 to 130 active parolees or cases at a time which can make for a heavy workload. Their job can also be dangerous at times and as such, Parole Officers are required to carry a gun for protection. It is their job to help clients adjust back to a normal life in the community. They are also responsible for helping the offenders maintain the terms of their parole. POs do this by establishing plans for each parolee that outlines goals for education or employment, rehabilitation if needed, and other activities that may encourage good behavior in the community. These professionals also attend parole hearings, conduct interviews with offenders and make recommendations for further courses of action. It is also not uncommon for a Parole Officer to be on-call or to come to the aid of their parolee during various times of the day or night.
The work setting of a Parole Officer will vary with each case. It is typical for these professionals to meet their clients outside of an office setting--whether that is at the released criminal's home or a rehabilitation facility. POs work with offenders and their families to provide resources, rehabilitation or job training. To do this, these professionals work closely with other organizations in the community such as community groups, religious organizations or other types of assistance services. Parole Officers will likely choose to work entirely with juveniles or adults but typically not both. They can be found working at city, county, state and national levels.