New York State and New York City followed the rest of the country in declining probation and prison populations between 1998 and 2008. According to the Brennan Center, the probation population for New York State dropped from 150,000 in 1998 to 122,000 by 2008, while the probation population for New York City declined from 77,000 in 1998 to 44,000. Probation populations outside of New York City remained largely unchanged during this period.
Changes to New York’s Probation System
New York City has implemented a number of new programs designed to effect positive changes in the lives of probationers. One of these is the Young Men’s Initiative, which targets neighborhoods with large probation populations and provides opportunities to at risk juveniles.
These initiatives emphasize systems that are locally operated and that account for local community needs and interests, while serving probationers in their home communities. These local programs focus on providing services that integrate with local schools, families and community organizations.
Requirements to Become a Probation Officer in New York City
The minimum requirements for those interested in learning how to become a probation officer in New York City are:
- Graduate degree in education, law, social work, criminology, rehabilitation counseling or a related field; or
- Bachelor’s degree and two years of full-time work in probation, social services or parole; or
- Bachelor of Social Work and one year of full-time work in probation, social services or parole
New York’s probation officer job candidates must also meet these criteria:
- U.S. citizenship
- 21 years of age
- Driver’s license
- Ability to complete Peace officer Training Certification
New York City Probation Officer Training
Peace Officer Training is a forty-hour weeklong course may be obtained through a number of public and private institutions that have been state certified. Upon hiring, most probation offices require that new officers complete the Peace Officer Training Certification program within a year. These schools usually include instruction in the following topics:
- Firearms and deadly force
- Aerosol subject restraint
- Emergency vehicle operation
- Long gun
In order to maintain peace officer certification, 21 additional hours of training must be obtained annually after the first year.
In addition to peace officer training, new officers must also complete a two week training program entitle Fundamentals of Probation Practice which is offered through the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. A 28 hour training program called Fundamentals of Community Corrections is also offered to community corrections officers and provides instruction in
- Evidence based practices
- Offender behavior modification