Suffolk County parole officers make a concerted effort to include the opinions and concerns of victims in the parole process. The Victim Impact Unit helps educate victims about their rights including the ability to personally voice their concerns to members of the Board of Parole. The Victim Impact Unit also informs victims about parole decisions, hearing dates and release dates. Victims may submit a video or written letter to the board if they desire. A 1998 law, designated as Jenna’s Law, now allows any Suffolk County resident the right to call the Division of Parole or Department of Corrections and obtain information about any parolee who was released after 1999. The Victim Impact Unit currently tracks almost 8,000 parolees throughout the state.
The parole officers of Suffolk County have witnessed a consistent decline in recidivism since 2001. With a 5.8 percent re-arrest rate among felony parolees in 2000, this dropped to 4.5 percent by 2009. Misdemeanor parolees had a 3.3 percent re-arrest rate in 2000, but this has declined to 2.5 percent by 2009. In 2000, 3.7 percent of parolees were re-incarcerated for a new crime, but this number had shrunk to 2.6 percent by 2009.
In addition to the county seat of Riverhead, other major cities in Suffolk County contribute to making this an important location for felony parole services, including Islip, Southampton and Brookhaven.
How to Become a Parole Officer in Suffolk County, New York
The New York State Division of Parole requires that candidates for parole officer jobs meet the following requirements:
- Be at 21 years of age
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be a New York resident
- Have a valid New York driver’s license
- Have a bachelor’s degree
- Passed the Parole Officer Civil Service Exam
- Ability to complete basic parole officer training
Parole Officer Recruit – To join the Division of Parole as a Parole Officer Recruit, which offers a starting salary of $34,260, applicants must have completed their undergraduate education with a degree in one of the following subjects:
- Criminal justice
- American ethnic studies
- Rehabilitation counseling
- Social work
Applicants may also satisfy this requirement with a law degree from an accredited law school.
Parole Officer – Job candidates may also join the department as Parole Officers, which have a starting salary of $52,643. In order to qualify for this position, applicants must also possess at least three years of experience in one or more of the following fields:
- Social service
- Human welfare
- Law enforcement
In some cases it may be possible to satisfy this professional experience requirement with a post-graduate degree like a MSW (Master of Social Work). These advanced degrees may also provide competitive benefits during the hiring process.
Following hiring, new recruits must complete an eight-week training program at the law enforcement training academy. Recruits must pass a wide spectrum of courses including firearms training. In order to graduate and receive certification as a public officer, recruits must pass a final exam and qualify with firearms. After the first year, officers must re-qualify with firearms and receive at least 40 hours of additional training annually.