The same correctional professionals handle both probation and parole cases in Rhode Island, and are known as adult probation/parole officers. Here these professionals work in the correctional supervision program of the Division of Rehabilitative Services, which is part of the Department of Corrections. The state had 76 such officers as of July 2010.
With the goal of better helping offenders reintegrate into society, probation and parole services in Rhode Island are divided into eight regions. One of these regions is Providence County that has a number of sites that handle probationers and parolees:
- Urban League Praire Avenue
- Providence Police Substation District 2
- Providence Police Substation District 7
- District Court
- Superior Court
How to Become a Probation or Parole Officer in Providence County
The first step to becoming a probation/parole officer in Providence County is to apply for a position. Requirements include having reached 21 years of age and not being older than 37. In addition, a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, behavioral science, or public or business administration is required, along with a driver’s license that is valid in Rhode Island.
New officers receive training from the Department of Corrections to learn how to become probation/parole officers in Providence County. They will have to pass a certification process before they can start their jobs.
Training is ongoing for probation/parole officers in Rhode Island. In particular, officers were trained in detecting human trafficking in 2012.
The Role and Duties of Probation and Parole Officers in Providence County
Providence is one of four communities in Rhode Island that has the highest number of returning offenders in the state. The careers of probation/parole officers are dedicated to helping these offenders become reintegrated into society while at the same time protecting the public.
Probation/parole officers in Providence County perform a number of functions:
- Supervising the actions of offenders who have been released into the community
- Monitoring that they comply with their parole or probation conditions
- Providing essential services to help with rehabilitation
Job training, counseling, and treatment for substance abuse are areas of great need for many offenders. Illiteracy is rampant among those incarcerated in Rhode Island, and about 80% of the sentences in prison involve the use or sale of drugs. Providing services for such clients helps them to become productive members of society and greatly decreases their likelihood of reoffending.
When individuals have been following their case plans closely, probation/parole officers can decrease their frequency of supervision. In January 2013, slightly over 1,100 of the probationers and parolees in Rhode Island were under low supervision. Of these type of cases, 240 were associated with the Urban League site in Providence, while 37 were from the District Court.