With a population of 802,374 in 2010, Hamilton County is the third largest county in the state of Ohio and is the home of Ohio’s third largest city – Cincinnati. The Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court manage the Hamilton County Adult Probation Department. These two courts have exhibited contradictory trends since 1999, with the number of probation sentences rising 10 percent in the Court of Common Pleas while the Municipal Court utilized this judgment 28 percent less during this period. This has kept the county’s probation officers busy, adapting to changes on one hand, and taking on more probationers on the other.
Hamilton County Probation Programs
Among the programs used the supervise offenders is the Behavioral Controls program which monitors the activities of felony and misdemeanor sex offenders. The number of participants in the Behavioral Controls program has declined eight percent between 1999 and 2004.
The Crossroads program is a ten week program which groups offenders into classes ranging from four to twenty in size and provides instruction in vocational skills, drugs and alcohol, time management, financial management, domestic violence and conflict resolution. The number of referrals from both courts has declined which has mirrored a drop in the number of successful graduates.
How to Become a Probation Officer in Hamilton County, Ohio: Degree Requirements
Probation officers in Hamilton County are required to have at least a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, social services, or behavioral science. An advanced degree such as a master’s, J.D., or doctorate can provide competitive advantages and often fulfill any professional experience requirements.
In 2012, the Ohio Adult Probation Training Committee implemented new standards for the training of probation professionals. The new training regimen requires completion of all courses in the officer training catalog provided by the Adult Parole Authority. This catalog includes courses in
- Role of the court
- Authority of the probation officer
- Due process
- Officer safety
- Professional written communication
- Courtroom presentation basics
- Searches and seizures
- Special populations
- Assessment basics
- Principles of effective intervention
Training Requirements for Probation Officers in Hamilton County
Following the first year, probation officers must receive 20 hours of additional training annually in the following topics:
- Criminal justice courts
- Evidence-based practices
- Functions and practices of probation officers
Probation officers who utilize the Ohio Risk Assessment System must also complete the ORAS training program and receive certification within 12 months. ORAS is utilized by the Hamilton County Municipal and Common Pleas Courts. ORAS training is a two-day course that covers:
- Risk and need assessment
- Principles of effective classification
- ORAS administration skills
After the first year, officers must complete 40 hours of training each year as part of continuing education.