The murder rate in Chicago, Illinois skyrocketed in 2012 to an all-time high, although during the first four months of 2013, it has dropped by 42 percent from 2012 figures, according to statistics provided by the Chicago Police Department. Some of this success can be attributed to enhanced efforts of the Chicago Police Department and the Illinois Department of Corrections Parole Division to reduce the city’s renowned crime rate.
In Fiscal Year 2011, per statistics provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections, parole officers in the state (termed parole agents) supervised 24,693 parolees. Thirty parole agents graduated from the state’s training academy that year. Clearly these agents have many challenges to face, but optimism is high as crime rates in Chicago are beginning to decrease.
Chicago falls within the First Judicial District in Cook County. Multiple parole offices exist throughout the Chicago area and parole agents in Chicago are assigned to these offices as staffing requirements dictate. The job of a parole officer in Chicago includes making unannounced visits to parolees’ homes, work sites, schools and other places where parolees hangout. They are also authorized to assist in transporting parole violators. Because some danger is involved in working as a parole agent in Chicago, these agents are licensed to carry firearms.
Four Steps to Becoming a Parole Officer in Chicago
Education – The Illinois Department of Corrections Parole Division requires all who apply for parole officer jobs in Chicago to have, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. This degree must be within one of the following disciplines:
- Social science (i.e., sociology, social psychology, social work, criminology, criminal studies)
- Behavioral science (i.e., psychology, human behavior, corrections)
- Law enforcement
Experience – In addition to education, all Chicago parole agents must have experience in the field. This requirement may be fulfilled with six months of experience in any of the following areas:
- Law enforcement
- Counseling in a rehabilitation setting
Applying – When there are openings for parole agent jobs in Chicago, they will be posted at the Illinois government job website, Work4Illinois. Applications for parole agent careers in Chicago are also accepted at this site. Qualified applicants may be contacted to schedule time to take the Corrections Parole Agent exam and proceed with the rest of the hiring process.
Training – It is only possible to become a parole agent in Chicago through training. On-the-job training and orientation will be provided to all newly hired parole agents in Chicago. Additionally, they must attend eight weeks of training at the Illinois Department of Corrections in Springfield.
Parole agents in Chicago must also complete a 40-hour mandatory firearms training course through the Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board. They must requalify annually to continue to carry firearms on the job. If Chicago parole agents wish to carry firearms off-duty, they must become certified through Illinois Parole Agent Concealed Carry.