Home to Newark, Belleville, and Bloomfield, Essex County is part of the Grater New York Metropolitan Area. Parole officers in Essex County fall under the jurisdiction of the New Jersey State Parole Board, but there is close cooperation with parole authorities in New York City.
Essex County is a pioneer in reentry programs for female offenders. Female Offender Reentry Group Effort (FORGE) was initially implemented in Essex County to help reduce re-arrest rates among female parolees. Using a multi-agency approach that identifies the unique needs of female supervisees, FORGE has established partnerships with the New Jersey Division of Women and Volunteers of America-Delaware Valley. The New Jersey State Parole Board also won $200,000 in federal grant money to expand this program to other parts of the state.
The county government also recognizes the need for many parolees to acquire welfare checks in order to refrain from criminal activity. In an effort to expedite the dissemination of welfare checks to parolees, Essex County has assigned several government workers specifically to parolees. These workers obtain information about parolees prior to release so that the process may be expedited. In addition to welfare support, these officials also assist parolees find substance abuse treatment, job training, housing, and placement.
Parole Officer Job Requirements in Essex County, New Jersey
The New Jersey State Parole Board hires new officers as Parole Officer Recruits, with starting salaries of more than $55,000 per year. After the initial probationary period, this salary may rise considerably depending on academic and professional qualifications. All job applicants are expected to meet the following basic requirements:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a bachelor’s degree
- Passed the civil service exam for parole officers
- Ability to obtain POST certification
While a bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement, many well-qualified applicants will have a master’s degree or some other type of advanced degree, usually in a highly desirable area like psychology, social welfare or criminal justice. Many applicants will also have prior experience in offender supervision; it may be possible to acquire such experience through paid employment, but it may also be obtained through internships or volunteer activities.
Certification Exam and Training
The New Jersey Civil Service Commission only schedules civil service exams, once every three years. It is also of critical importance to research the next exam for parole officers, because this exam may not be offered every cycle.
The Police Training Commission certifies law enforcement officers in New Jersey. New parole officers must complete a 24 week basic training program that includes courses in
- Investigation techniques
- Arrest procedures
- Parolee supervision
- Defensive tactics
- Firearms training
Upon graduation and firearms qualification, new parole officer recruits will receive POST certification, which authorizes them to make arrests and use firearms. After the first year, senior parole officers must re-qualify with firearms and receive 40 additional hours of training annually.