Probation officers in New Jersey work closely with the Family and Superior Courts for non-federal cases. They serve under the jurisdiction of the Administrative Office of the Courts with most counties having their own probation offices. Union County has its main probation office in Elizabethtown and a satellite office in Plainfield.
118,131 people were on probation in New Jersey as of December 2011. New Jersey probation officers have been successful at reintegrating offenders back into society, and the state had the lowest rate of recidivism in the Northeast, according to a PEW 2011 study.
The major units of the Probation Division in Union County that deal with adults are:
- Adult Supervision (in both offices)
- Child Support Enforcement
- Community Service Enforcement
- Collections Enforcement
Education and Training Requirements for Union County’s Probation Officers
A bachelor’s degree is required to obtain a job as a probation officer in Union County. Additional requirements include having a valid New Jersey driver’s license and being 21 at the time of employment. Applicants must take and pass a civil service exam before they can be hired for jobs as probation officers in Union County.
Newly hired employees take part in training to learn how to become a probation officer in Union County. They are trained in case management, assessing the needs of probationers, and preventing domestic violence.
Probation Officer Job Functions in Union County
The Adult Supervision Unit of Union County handles all adults that have been sentenced to probation by Municipal, Family, and Superior Courts. The careers of probation officers involve evaluating every case and developing a case plan to ensure that conditions comply with the court order. They then monitor the person on probation to ensure that they are fulfilling all of the conditions of their sentence.
An experienced probation officer handles cases involving domestic violence. They closely monitor these high-risk offenders that have been placed on probation by the Superior or Family Courts. This probation officer also works with the victim to ensure that any restraining order is being obeyed. A master probation officer oversees the cases of sexual offenders as part of a special program.
Probation officers in Union County also enforce electronic monitoring in which offenders are placed under house arrest as an alternative to being sentenced to jail. In addition, they monitor offenders who have been sentenced to the Drug Court. These probation officers:
- Monitor the offender’s behavior in the community
- Refer the individuals to job training and placement programs
- Conduct urinalysis tests
Another aspect of the jobs of probation officers in Union County is referring offenders to the employment specialist of the Probation Division. He or she assesses the need and readiness for employment. The Union County Probation Division is a formal partner of the One Stop Career Centers in the county. This provides access to all employment opportunities and job fairs in Union County, helping offenders to get the employment they need to become productive members of society.
Probation officers also enforce the collection of fines, fees, and restitution, including child support payments.
Federal cases in New Jersey are handled by probation officers from another agency: the U.S. Probation Office. They have a District in New Jersey.