The Georgia Department of Corrections, Probation Supervision employed about 3,790 probation officers in 113 offices throughout the state. In 2010, these officers averaged about $35,820 in annual salary according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These highly qualified law enforcement officers supervised almost 149,000 probationers in 2008, with about 54,250 cases related to drug offenses and 51,000 related to property crimes.
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Within the Probation Supervision department there are several programs that include Intensive Probation Supervision, Specialized Probation Supervision, Community Service, Collections and Outcomes. Intensive Probation Supervision involves a high level of surveillance and random visits 24 hours a day. Specialized Probation is specifically for sex offenders and involves 24 hour tracking along with highly restrictive travel and computer access.
Many probation sentences require offenders to perform unpaid work for communities. This may include trash collection, landscaping, mechanical repair, building remodeling, plumbing, or painting. Probation officers often facilitate community service by coordinating with local police and government agencies.
Georgia governor Nathan Deal recently instituted a policy of using probationers on Georgia farms. This voluntary program allows unemployed probationers to earn an income despite the sluggish state economy which still has ten percent unemployment among general state residents, but is at 15 percent among the state’s 103,000 probationers.
Requirements for Those Interested in Becoming Probation Officers in Georgia
Candidates looking at how become a probation officer in Georgia must possess the following qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be 21 years of age or older
- Possess a bachelor’s degree
- No felony convictions
- Sufficient physical fitness to perform professional duties
- 20/40 vision with or without correction
- Near normal hearing
Officers who have a bachelor’s degree receive a five percent lump sum payment, and those with a master’s degree receive an additional five percent bonus. Military veterans receive the following bonuses to their salary:
- 1 year of service: 2.5 percent salary bonus
- 2 years of service: 5.0 percent salary bonus
- 3 years of service: 7.5 percent salary bonus
- 4+ years of service: 10.0 percent salary bonus
Applications submitted to the Georgia Department of Corrections should be accompanied by resumes and transcripts. If the initial application is approved, candidates must take the Criminal Justice exam and receive at least a score of 70.
An interview is scheduled if the exam is passed. Candidates for probation officer jobs in Georgia should bring the following to their interview:
- College transcripts or diplomas
- Social security cards
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
If hired, the recruit must submit to a criminal background investigation and drug screening. Candidates will also be asked to provide driving records for the past seven years and a medical evaluation, at their own expense.
Georgia’s Probation Officer Training
Recruits will enroll in a four-week Basic Probation Officer Training program in Georgia. This 160-hour course will include topics on:
- Sentencing options
- Use of force
- Surveillance techniques
- Defensive tactics
- Risk based supervision
After the first year, probation officers are required to receive at least 20 hours of additional training annually.