New Hampshire has a very low crime rate compared to the rest of the country. Its murder rate was the lowest in the U.S. in 2009. Due to this trend, 4,121 individuals had been sentenced to probation in December 2011. This was the lowest number in the U.S.
Cases for both probation and parole are handled by the same officers in New Hampshire. Thus, they are known as probation/parole officers. Multiple agencies in New Hampshire handle the cases of probation and parole. The Supervision Unit of the United States Probation and Pretrial Office oversees federal probation and parole cases in the state.
Of those who received federal sentences in fiscal year 2006, 15% were sentenced to probation. Out of these 263 individuals, 44% were arrested for crimes relating to drugs, while 23% were arrested for crimes involving property.
Probation/parole officers refer their cases for drug or alcohol treatment when the individual has a substance abuse problem. Of the offenders being supervised in fiscal year 2006, 70-80% were treated for drug abuse and mental health counseling. Forty-one percent of those in treatment had jobs when their probations or parole had ended. This greatly reduced their likelihood of re-offending.
Becoming a Rockingham County Probation and Parole Officer
A bachelor’s degree is necessary for careers as a federal probation/parole officer in Rockingham County. It should be in a field such as:
- Criminal justice
- Public administration
- Human relations
Additional requirements for applicants seeking jobs as federal probation/parole officers include being less than 37 years old when they are appointed and having a driver’s license that is valid.
The training for federal probation/parole officers includes:
- Dealing with suicidal offenders
- Drug identification
- Medical safety
- Defensive and safety tactics
- Firearms proficiency
One of the fifteen district offices in Rockingham County is located in Exeter. Probation/parole officers in Rockingham County supervise over a thousand offenders.
Training to Become a Rockingham County Probation and Parole Officer
Those who have been hired start their careers by learning how to become probation/parole officers in Rockingham County through a formal training program. The initial part of this training is attending nine weeks of classes at the Arthur D. Kehas Criminal Justice Training Facility in Concord. Training is provided by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council and includes becoming proficient with the use of firearms.
Once they have finished attending these classes, they undergo legal training. This familiarizes probation/parole officers with the legality of things such as arrests and search/seizures. The third step is field training. Forty training hours of continued training per year are required. This includes:
- Firearms requalification
- Using defensive techniques, including oleoresin spray
- First aid/CPR
- Using force and weapons safely
What to Expect from Probation and Parole Officer Careers in Rockingham County
Rockingham County pioneered a pilot program called New Hope for those on probation who are at high risk for reoffending, primarily those with problems with drug abuse. Individuals in this program interact with their probation/parole officer more frequently and are tested three times a week for drugs in their system.
There are immediate sanctions if drugs are found. After the first violation, the individual is incarcerated for one to two days. With the second, the time increases to three or four days. At first, this greatly increased the caseloads, but the program has proven to be effective at increasing the chances of the offenders succeeding with their probation and becoming drug free. The program has been expanded to several other counties in New Hampshire.