The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), Community Corrections Division reported steady increases in the number of people in Mississippi on probation and parole during the last four years. January 2013 there were 39,520 individuals on probation in Mississippi, an increase from 38,719 in January 2012, 27,013 in January 2011, and 24,448 in January 2010.
The Community Corrections Division, through its three regions and 66 field offices, supervises both adult probationers and adult parolees. Probation officers in Mississippi are certified law enforcement officials; therefore, minimum employment requirements are strict and well-defined.
Employment Standards for Mississippi’s Probation and Parole Officer Jobs
All candidates for probation/parole officer positions must be under the age of 37 when appointed for the first time. However, candidates who have had previous law enforcement experience may be eligible if they are older than 37, as the MDOC allows these individuals to subtract their years of law enforcement experience from their age.
All candidates for probation/parole officer jobs in Mississippi should expect to undergo a pre-employment background investigation, drug screening, and medical examination. Further, all probation officers in Mississippi should also expect to undergo random drug tests throughout their employment and background investigations every 5 years (or as deemed necessary).
Education Requirements for Probation and Parole Officers in Mississippi
Individuals who want to learn how to become probation/parole officers in Mississippi should pay close attention to the education requirements, as all candidates must possess a bachelor’s or master’s degree (master’s degree is preferred) from an accredited college or university in one of the following majors:
- Criminal Justice
- Business Administration
- Public Administration
- Human Relations
In addition, candidates with experience in rehabilitation, drug/alcohol work, personnel/human services, corrections, or counseling is preferred.
Probation and Parole Officer Training Standards in Mississippi
Because probation/parole officers in Mississippi are certified law enforcement officers, they have the option of carrying a firearm and all have arrest authority.
Training standards are often more stringent than other states, as well. During the first year of employment, for example, all new probation/parole officers are required to complete at least 400 hours of training. Thereafter, all officers must complete at least 40 hours of training, as well as firearms requalification, on an annual basis.
Firearms training for probation/parole officers are usually carried out through the Law Enforcement Training Academy, although officers may also attend firearms training courses through the Department of Corrections.