New Hampshire’s low crime rate has resulted in the state’s having the lowest number of people on probation in the country in December 2011 with 4,121 people having this status. In particular, New Hampshire’s murder rate was the lowest in the U.S. in 2009.
In New Hampshire, the same officers are responsible for both parole and probation cases. Separate probation/parole officers work for the federal government and the counties of New Hampshire. Federal officers oversee probation and parole cases through the Supervision Unit of the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Office.
Most of the 263 federal offenders sentenced to probation in New Hampshire in fiscal year 2006 had committed crimes that involved drugs. The next highest category of offenses was for property crimes.
Many of the individuals on federal probation have been referred to get counseling for mental health issues and to be treated for drug abuse problems. This treatment appeared to be effective in helping offenders reintegrate into the community, since 41% of those treated had jobs when their sentence had ended.
The counties in New Hampshire handle the cases of offenders who have not committed federal crimes. A District Office of the Field Services Division of the state’s Department of Corrections is located in Merrimack County in Concord. In 2010, this district supervised nearly 900 people who were on probation or parole. They also collected financial obligations ordered by the court from over 450 people.
The District Office in Merrimack County was identified in 2010 to play a pivotal role in managing a $400,000 federal grant. This was the Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Initiative that:
- Supported case management coordination
- Provided risk and clinical assessments
- Provided individualized programming
Requirements to Become a Merrimack County Probation and Parole Officer
To become a federal probation/parole officer, a bachelor’s degree is required in a field such as:
- Human relations
- Public administration
- Criminal justice
Those seeking careers as a federal probation/parole officer must be younger than 37 when they are appointed and possess a valid driver’s license. The training for new federal probation/parole officers includes a number of areas:
- Firearms proficiency
- Defensive and safety tactics
- Dealing with those who are suicidal
- Identifying drugs
- Medical safety
Training Requirements for Merrimack County’s Probation and Parole Officers
Applicants seeking jobs as probation/parole officers in Merrimack County are required to possess a bachelor’s degree. New employees learn how to become probation/parole officers in Merrimack County through three phases of training.
The first phase is to attend Corrections Academy for 9 weeks as commuters. These classes are given by the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council at the Arthur De Kehas Criminal Justice Training Facility located in Concord. Part of the training involves learning to use firearms proficiently.
The second part of the training is in areas of the law such as arresting people and performing search and seizures. The final step is being trained in the field. Probation/Parole officers that work for Merrimack County are required to obtain 40 hours of additional training a year. They are trained to:
- Re-qualify to use firearms
- Use oleoresin spray and other defensive techniques
- Perform CPR and first aid
- Use weapons and force in a safe manner