Probation and parole officers are an integral component of the criminal justice system in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. By serving the Mississippi Department of Corrections-Community Corrections Division, parole officers strengthen public safety by reassimilating convicted criminals back into society through innovative rehabilitation efforts and vigilant supervision.
In 2012, parole officers upheld law enforcement initiatives by overseeing 6,185 parolees and 617 compact parolees. Compact parolees are offenders that do not have state residency but have been given access to parole release in Mississippi.
Education and Experience for Entry-Level Positions
All probation and parole officers in Mississippi must meet state-specific education and experience eligibility requirements prior to employment. The State Personnel Board expects all applicants for parole officer (or correctional field officer) jobs to have at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university and one year of work experience in sociology, criminal justice, psychology, social work, or related field. However, there is an exception to this standard. Applicants that have a high school degree (or GED) may also qualify for employment if they have at least five years of work-related experience.
Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Program
Since probation and parole officers work directly with offenders, they may be subject to precarious circumstances. Therefore, learning how to become a probation and parole officer in Hattiesburg requires career preparation through training. As such, the state insists that applicants earn a certificate of completion from the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officers Training Program before they begin employment. If hired, trainees enter into a probationary period of on-the-job training to ensure competency in all necessary skill sets.
Upon completion of the probation period, probation and parole officers need to partake in 40 hours of additional training annually.
Examples of Job Activities
Here are some examples of the duties performed by entry-level probation and parole officers in Hattiesburg, according the Mississippi State Personnel Board:
- Sustaining consistent contact with offenders through home and office visits
- Collecting mandated fees from offenders
- Checking the development of offenders put in community programs
- Handling drug screening procedures for offenders
- Upholding court/parole orders, including making arrests
- Obtaining and review sentencing stipulations to ensure compliance
- Organizing pre-sentence documents for court
- Creating and updating all offender files
Current Employment of Parole Officers in Mississippi
Studies conducted by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (USBLS) reveal that as of May 2012, there were 320 probation officers, parole officers, and other correctional treatment specialists working throughout the state. Jobseekers may find opportunities to be contingent on region of employment. For instance, the Northwest nonmetropolitan area employed 110 of the total workforce for these occupations. By contrast, the Northeast nonmetropolitan region and the Jackson area each employed 60 workers in this category.
The Mississippi Department of Employment Security reports an optimistic outlook for residents with parole officer careers. To start, there were 480 probation officers and correctional treatment specialists working in the state in 2008. Here, parole officers fall under the category of “correctional treatment specialists. By the 2018, there is anticipated to be 630 professionals working under this occupational umbrella. This ten-year projection implies an additional 150 workers to the field, which denotes an employment growth of 31.3%.