According to a 2011 report, the Missouri Department of Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole, there were 73,188 offenders in the state under field supervision, 54,100 of those were in probation and 17,929 were in parole.
Probation and parole officers in the Division of Probation and Parole focus their efforts on three, core values: public safety, re-entry, and evidence-based practices. These practices, according to the Division, have allowed their recidivism rates to decrease steadily during the last two years.
The Division reported that probation and parole programs have also allowed the state to save millions of dollars, as the daily, average cost of probation and parole supervision is $5.03, while the daily cost of incarceration is $57.16.
Probation and Parole Officer Qualification Exam
All candidates for probation and parole officer jobs in Missouri must take a written examination to qualify for employment. The examination consists of the following areas:
- Basic human behavior
- Offender evaluation
- Security and safety
- Basic computer skills
- Policy and procedures
- Custody and control
- Report writing
The exam score accounts for 60 percent of a candidate’s score, while the candidate’s education and experience accounts for the remaining 40 percent of the score. Individuals are then placed on a “register of eligibles” according to their overall score, which is used when vacancies occur.
Experience and Education Standards for Probation and Parole Officers
Candidates seeking probation or parole officer careers in Missouri must obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. However, work experience in juvenile or social management or substance abuse counseling may be substituted for the education requirement, on a year-for-year basis, for up to two years.
The Application Process for Missouri Probation and Parole Officers
Individuals who want to learn how to become probation and parole officers in Missouri must understand the Missouri Merit System.
The Missouri Merit System requires all individuals to complete a merit process to be considered for employment. Probation and parole officers, in particular, must complete an online merit application, as well as an online Department of Corrections application.
Training Requirements for Missouri Probation and Parole Officer Jobs
During the first year of employment, all Missouri probation and parole officers must complete at least 40 hours of DOC basic training, as well as 120 hours of specific probation/parole officer training. Upon the successful completion of basic training, new officers must then receive 80 weeks of on-the-job field training. Thereafter, they are required to complete at least 16 hours of training on select topics and 16 hours of safety training annually.
Probation and parole officers may carry firearms in Missouri. Those who carry firearms must complete 32 hours of initial firearms training upon being hired and 18 hours of firearms requalification training on an annual basis.