Probation Officer Career in Cook County, Illinois

Individuals that hold probation officer jobs in Chicago, Illinois work under the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Of the twenty-four judicial circuits that currently exist in Illinois, Cook County houses the largest circuit court in the state. As result of its expansive size, the state government has divided the Circuit Court of Cook County into six sub-districts. The City of Chicago is managed by the First Municipal District while the remaining outlaying suburban areas are assigned to the remaining five districts, according to geographic region.

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Adult Probation Internships: How to Become a Probation Officer in Chicago

Perhaps the best way to learn how to become a probation officer in Chicago is through the training internship program that is provided by the Adult Probation Department. This internship is a semester-long program available to college students. The internship consists of a four-day orientation, at least two days of work a week, and at least 200 hours of classroom instruction and in-service training. Students that complete the training portion of the internship will job-shadow a probation officer to learn how to:

  • Interview probationers
  • Evaluate assessments
  • Develop supervision plans
  • Manage field visits
  • Construct court documents
  • Attend court hearings

Internship Eligibility

In order to a gain acceptance into the Adult Probation Internship Program in Chicago, Illinois, students must have at least two years of undergraduate studies completed. Also, they must have at least an overall GPA of 2.5 and at least a 2.75 GPA in their selected major. From there, students must undergo an interview process conducted by personnel from the Department of Adult Probation. Finally, applicants must submit to a background check, and disclose the following documents:

  • College transcripts
  • Resume
  • Cover letters
  • Writing sample
  • Letters of recommendation

The Cook County Adult Probation Department

The Adult Probation Department operates within the Circuit Court of Cook County and administers and manages the supervision of individuals sentenced to probation. Offenders, or probationers, are each given specific parameters that guide their court-ordered supervision. Probation officers are liaisons of the court that personally execute the supervision and surveillance of probationers to ensure the compliance of probation conditions.

Cook County Probation Stats

According to the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Adult Probation Department:

  • Close to 120,000 hours of community service are performed by probationers annually
  • Probation officers presently supervise around 25,000 probationers
  • The department receives almost 12,000 probation cases annually
  • An estimated 86% of all probationers are felons
  • Around 8,000 offenders released on bond become supervised annually

Standard Supervision Probation Officers

Professionals with a career as probation officers in Chicago, Illinois often provide standard caseload supervision because roughly 88% of probationers are sentenced to this type of probation, instead of intensive or specialized supervision. During standard supervision, probation officers begin a new case by consulting with the probationer to procure personal background information to devise a customized supervision approach. From there, probation officer may enforce supervisory measures by subjecting probationers to:

  • Monetary compensations
  • Community services
  • Drug testing
  • Home confinement
  • Installing curfews
  • Educational programs
  • Mental health counseling
  • Drug treatment

Specialized Supervision Probation Officers

Although most probation officers deliver standard caseload supervision, some cater to a small percentage of probationers that are high-risk offenders or require special attention due to a specific condition or circumstance. In Chicago’s Adult Probation Department, examples of these specialized probation units include:

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  • Rehabilitative Alternative Probation
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Program
  • Gang Intervention Unit
  • Intensive Drug Probation
  • Sex Offender Program
  • Mental Health Unit
  • Intensive Probation Supervision
  • POWER Program
  • Home Confinement Unit
  • GPS Supervision
  • Community service Unit

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