Over the past several months, more and more parole officers have been resorting to new ways of dealing with parolees and probationers. Many in the corrections industry are looking to establish and maintain a safer community both inside the prison walls and out.
In many states, of the total number of prison inmates, the majority are not incarcerated for having committed a new crime but rather are locked up for some kind of parole violation. This constant “recycling” of prisoners is a significant contributor to the nation’s exploding prison population. As a result, many parole officers throughout the country are looking for ways to work with their clients after a parole violation rather than simply having them sent back behind bars.
It is a controversial issue to be sure, as politicians and the public often feel that the only way to deal with convicted felons is to keep them in prison for as long as possible and to keep sending them there once they’re released if they ever violate their parole.
But the parole officers who deal with these individuals on a daily basis tend to have a different sentiment. Many of them believe that parolees and probationers are victims of the system. Without trying to make excuses for them, they realize what these men and women are up against and with parole regulations being as restrictive as they are, it can often be easy for violations to occur.
Most parole officers take their job very seriously and see convicts in a way that the general public often fails to – as real people. Officers get up close and personal with their clients on a regular basis and while many of them are indeed simply hardened criminals with no respect for authority or, in some cases, for human life, parole officers understand that most are people with families who love and care about them. As such, the consensus among many officers is that changes need to be made in the parole system to offer these individuals a way to get their lives back.