In addition to the county seat of Hackensack, the cities of Rutherford, Englewood and Paramus contribute to making parole services vital in Bergen County, New Jersey. Like all counties in New Jersey, parole officers under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Parole Board conduct parolee supervision.
Bergen County, in partnership with the State Parole Board, has made many community resources available to re-entering parolees. Among these are:
- The Bergen County Addiction Recovery Program
- Latin America Institute’s Recovery Way
- Care Plus, NJ
- Friendship House
- The Mars and Venus Counseling Center
These public and private organizations help newly returned offenders obtain housing, get training in vocational skills, pursue continue education, find medical care, receive substance abuse or mental health treatment and find jobs.
How to Become a Parole Officer in Bergen County, New Jersey
Requirements – The New Jersey State Parole Board has introduced an entry level position in the Division of Parole, designated as Parole Officer Recruit. In order to obtain this job, applicants must have the following qualifications:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have a bachelor’s degree
- Pass a civil service exam offered by the New Jersey Civil Service Commission
The most competitive candidates for Bergen County parole officer jobs are likely to have advanced degrees and extensive experience in offender supervision. It may be possible to obtain this supervision through volunteering or internships.
Exam – It is important for those interested in becoming Bergen County parole officers to research when a civil service exam specific to parole officer recruit jobs will be administered. Civil service exams are typically administered only every three years, and the parole officer exam is not always included. Missing the next available exam may result in a several year wait for the next one.
Training – New parole officer recruits in Bergen County must complete a 24-week training program that includes instruction in:
- Investigative techniques
- Parolee supervision
- Arrest procedures
- Defensive tactics
Following graduation, Bergen County’s parole officer recruits will remain under the close supervision of a Senior Parole Officer for at least a year. Each year, officers must obtain at least 40 hours of additional training and re-qualify with a firearm.
Bergen County’s Parole System in the News
Bergen County parole officers recently litigated a case about carrying firearms. The suit brought against the State Parole Board attempted to block the implementation of a new policy that would restrict carrying firearms in some situations. The new policy would have required parole officers to securely store their firearms before interviewing parolees. The suit was resolved when both sides agreed to a compromise which would allow officers to retain their weapons except in face-to-face interviews within police stations.
Among the responsibilities that parole officers must perform are the Stages to Enhance Parolee Success (STEP). This program seeks to limit recidivism by uniting parolees with residential programs in the community. This involves creating a mandatory Discharge Plan for each parolee prior to release, finding a room at a halfway house or other residential facility, and introducing a continuum of care specifically tailored to meet parolee needs.