New Hampshire had 2,204 people on parole and 4,121 on probation in December 2011. Its crime rate is among the lowest in the country, and the New Hampshire murder rate was the lowest of any state in 2009.
The state does not have separate officers for probation and parole. Joint probation/parole officers handle both types of cases. The cases of offenders on probation or parole in New Hampshire are handled by different agencies, depending on the nature of the crime. Federal cases, primarily those of racketeering and extortion, are handled by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Office. Probation/parole officers act out of its Supervision Unit.
A major goal of probation and parole is to reintegrate offenders in society as productive members. Many of the people on federal probation in New Hampshire were referred to mental health counseling and treatment for drug use. In 2006, 41% of those who received these types of treatment were employed by the time their sentences had ended.
Basic Requirements to Become a Probation Officer in Belknap County
A bachelor’s degree is the primary requirement to become a probation/parole officer for the U.S. government. This degree should be in one of the following fields:
- Public administration
- Human relations
- Criminal justice
Additional requirements include being younger than 37 at the time their employment starts and possessing a driver’ s license that is valid. Newly hired federal probation/parole officers are trained in a number of areas, including:
- Becoming proficient in using firearms
- Learning safety and defensive tactics
- Handling suicidal offenders
- Being safe medically
- Identifying drugs
One of the 15 District Offices of the Field Services Division of the New Hampshire Department of Corrections is located in Belknap County in Laconia. In 2007, an office of seven people managed the caseloads of approximately 600 people that were on probation, parole, or under other types of community supervision in this district office.
Training to Become a Probation Officer in Belknap County
Those who have obtained jobs with the division learn how to become probation/parole officers in Belknap County through several phases of training.
The first phase is to attend the Corrections Academy in Concord for nine weeks. The New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council provide this training, which includes becoming proficient in using firearms. The Corrections Academy is one component of the Arthur De Kehas Criminal Justice Training Facility. Trainees commute during this phase.
The second phase of training is on legal topics. New probation/parole officers become familiar with the laws for making arrests, searching people, and seizing contraband. The third phase is field training. Once probation/parole officers are established in their careers, they are required to take part in an additional forty hours of training a year. This involves:
- Becoming re-qualified to use firearms
- Mastering the use of oleoresin capsicum and other defensive techniques
- Performing first aid and CPR
- Using weapons and force safely