In Rhode Island, probation and parole services are handled by the same correctional professionals, who work for the Division of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. The Adult Probation and Parole unit of Rhode Island is part of the correctional supervision program of the DRS.
Rhode Island’s correctional officials think that probation/parole officers can do a better job when they are more intimately connected with the community. As a result, probation and parole divisions are broken down into eight regions throughout the state. One of these regions is Kent County, which has its probation/parole offices located in Warwick.
The Function of Probation/Parole Officers in Kent County
The primary goals of probation/parole officers in Kent County are to supervise the activities of offenders in the community, monitor their compliance with the conditions of their probation or parole, and to provide services that help the offender to become rehabilitated and re-integrate into society.
While some probation/parole officers in Rhode Island have general caseloads, others specialize in more high risk or intensive cases and have fewer probationers and parolees in their charge. These include:
- Domestic assault offenders
- Sex offenders
- Offenders who have a serious mental illness
- Drug court participants
- High risk female offenders
In some cases, the probation/parole officers find that the offender is doing such a good job of obeying his or her court orders that they limit their contact with the person. Of the 1,117 individuals under this type of low supervision in Rhode Island as of January 2013, 18% were located in Kent County.
Requirements and Training to Become a Probation/Parole Officer in Kent County
Applicants who seek careers as probation/parole officers in Kent County must be between 21 and 37 years old. They must also have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following fields:
- Business administration
- Criminal justice
- Human Relations
- Public administration
- Social work
Newly hired officers learn how to become probation/parole officers in Kent County through training provided by the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. They must go through a certification process to qualify for probation/parole officer jobs in the state.
Additional training is provided as needed. For example, there was training offered to Rhode Island’s probation/parole officers in 2012 specific to identifying human traffickers or those who are being exploited by them.