The probation and parole officers of the Montana Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole Bureau, are responsible for supervising more than 8,400 offenders throughout the state.
The Probation and Parole Bureau, which operates out of 8 correctional facility offices and 23 field offices, includes about 220 employees, 14 of whom are designated as institutional probation and parole officers, 142 of whom are probation and parole officers, and 23 of whom are supervisors.
The Probation and Parole Bureau is a vital one for the State of Montana because it is through effective probation and parole programs, according to the Bureau, that the state has been able to save millions of dollars by reducing the number of incarcerated individuals. For example, the Bureau estimates that it costs the state about $100 a day to house an individual in prison, but just $4.62 a day to supervise the same individual through a probation or parole program.
How to Become a Probation and Parole Officer in Montana:
Individuals who want to strive to secure probation and parole officer careers in Montana must first work toward a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in psychology, sociology, criminology, human relations, or business or public administration.
A master’s degree or JD degree in a related field, as well as experience working with offenders, is preferred.
Further, the Probation and Parole Bureau requires two years of specialized experience in in corrections, criminal investigations, substance abuse/addiction treatment, law enforcement, youth services, criminal justice or social services.
Minimum Employment Requirements
First-time officers must be under the age of 37 at the time of appointment, although candidates with previous law enforcement experience may be eligible if they are older than 37, depending on their years of law enforcement experience.
All candidates must also be United States citizens, and they must be eligible to work in the U.S. Further, individuals must be able to pass a pre-employment medical examination and drug screening.
Probation and Parole Officer Training
Because probation and parole officers in Montana are certified law enforcement officials, all new probation and parole officers in Montana must complete training through the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) within the first 12 months of hire. Thereafter, all probation and parole officers must successfully complete at least 16 hours of continuing education on an annual basis.