Oklahoma County is the largest county in the state with 718,000 residents and home to the largest city, Oklahoma City. This large population contributes to one of the largest probation populations in the state with 5,156 probation cases at the beginning of 2012. Probation services are provided through the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Division of Community Corrections and are carried out by Probation and Parole Officers (PPO) who manage offenders at all stages of community supervision.
The Division of Community Corrections collected almost $29,673 in fees and victim restitution during 2012 from probationers in the county. Probationers also contributed almost 8,262 hours of community service. Of these probation cases there were a total of 832 closures, with 220 designated as successful, 79 designated as unsuccessful and 533 other types of closures.
Oklahoma has one of the lowest parole rates in the country with only about 11 percent of offenders eligible for parole actually granted release. Many eligible prisoners are also waiving parole hearings in order to earn a release without community supervision.
PPOs may utilize several systems to monitor supervisees including the GPS Monitoring Program. In 2012, almost 1,247 offenders were tracked throughout the state using GPS devices. Of these 774 successfully exited the program while 15 percent were charged with program violations.
How to Become a Probation and Parole Officer in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections employs four levels of Probation and Parole Officers. Level I requires a bachelor’s degree with at least 24 semester hours of study in one or more of the following subjects:
- Social work
- Police science
- Criminal justice administration
This entry level position offers a salary between $26,502 and $44,170, so competition for available positions may be quite intense. Advanced degrees including JD’s, masters, and doctorates may confer competitive benefits during the hiring process. Although there is no professional experience requirement, many applicants with prior experience in parole, probation, chemical dependency or social work receive preference during employee selection. Many Oklahoma agencies and organizations may provide this experience through paid employment, internships and trainee programs.
PPO level II offers a salary between $31,848 and $53,080 but requires at least two years of experience in social casework. PPO level III provides a salary between $35,032 and $58,387 and requires four years of experience with parole and probation casework. The annual salary for PPO level IV is between #38,885 and $64,808, and officers at this level must possess at least one year of experience performing duties commensurate with PPO level III.
Newly recruited officers must attend the Correctional Officer Academy and complete the four week basic training program. All probation and parole officers are commissioned peace officers in Oklahoma with arrest authority and the right to carry a firearm. Upon completion of the training program, PPOs are certified as peace officers. This certification must be renewed through 25 hours of training annually.