The polices of the Ohio Parole Board came under scrutiny in news reports during June 2012 regarding the state’s downward sloping parole rate of 6.9%. Considering the parole rate reached 26% in 2001 and an impressive 48.5% in 2004, prison reform and advocacy groups like CURE (Citizen’s United for Rehabilitation for Errants) had reason to question state authorities as to the lack of offenders being released on parole.
To help remedy the situation, the Parole Board sought the professional guidance of correction officials, including parole officers. In response, parole officers began coaching inmates and searching out supportive testimony providers to increase an inmates’ chances of becoming a parolees instead of prisoners.
Parole Officer Job Description
According to the Ohio Hiring Management System, the primary purpose of parole officer jobs are to observe and regulate the actions of parolees to the certify compliance of court-issued laws, terms of release, and special conditions thereof. The Ohio Adult Parole Authority reports that strong efforts by parole officers led to 1,486 parole hearings and decision outcomes, as well as 226 granted releases of parolees in 2012. Specific duties inherent to parole officer positions include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting pre-sentence, offender background, and comprehensive investigations/reports
- Assessing offenders to establish release decisions and range of supervision
- Locating employment and vocational opportunities for offenders
- Referring offenders to community service providers
- Preparing, presenting, and testifying at hearings
- Developing rehabilitation strategies
- Issuing arrest, hold, and release orders
- Conducting surveillance and monitoring procedures
- Performing alcohol and drug testing
Parole Officer Education and Training
Because of the specialized nature of parole officer careers, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction requires professionals in this field to fulfill eligibility requirements prior to applying for a position and after becoming officially hired. Here is a guide explaining how to become a probation officer through training and education in Ohio:
- Pre-Employment Qualifications: Applicants must be legally allowed to possess a firearm. A valid driver license is also mandatory. Parole officers must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university or an associate’s degree along with two years of work experience in criminal justice, law enforcement, corrections, social service or related field. Candidates are required to pass a “parole officer assessment” or be a current employee of the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections with parole officer certification status.
- Post-Employment Qualifications: Upon becoming hired, parole officers enter into a 365-day probationary period of employment. During this time, recruits must attend Adult Authority Parole orientation school and complete pre-service training programs. New employees must also earn and maintain unarmed self-defense, firearms, and pepper spray certifications.
Career Outlook in Ohio
Research by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services indicates there were 3,270 probation officers and correctional treatment specialists employed across the state in 2008. By 2018, these professionals are expected to number 3,550 which shows an employment growth of 8.6%. Through the accumulation of work experience and ongoing training, parole officers may facilitate career advancement, eventually rising to positions as senior parole officers or supervisors. Jobseekers are encouraged to appeal to the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections for employment opportunities. The department is the biggest state agency in Ohio and currently employs over 13,000 workers.