Although Shelby County, Tennessee is home to major cities like Bartlett, Arlington, and Lakeland, Memphis is the principal metropolitan hub in this county with a population of almost 672,000 by itself. Probation and parole services here are conducted by the Division of Probation and Parole Field Services within the Tennessee Department of Correction. Shelby County is a large enough area that it constitutes the entirety of District 7 within the DOC hierarchy.
In 2008, there were 8,627 parolees within Shelby County. The percentage of parolees who violated the terms of their parole and were re-incarcerated during 2008 was 10.8 percent, which was considerably lower than in other metropolitan areas in the state. By comparison, Nashville had a 12.2 percent recidivism rate and Knoxville experienced a 13.8 percent recidivism rate.
Becoming a Probation and Parole Officer in Shelby County, Tennessee
The minimum educational requirement for candidates interested in learning how to become probation and parole officers in Shelby County is a bachelor’s degree. Although no field of study is stipulated, it is advisable to concentrate or possess considerable course work in at least one of the following topics:
- Criminal justice
- Social work
Applicants should also possess these qualifications:
- Good moral character
- No felony convictions or dishonorable military discharge
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Ability to obtain POST certification
- Ability to pass a background check, medical exam and drug test
Probation and Parole Officer Training in Shelby County
Beginning in 2013, new recruits must complete a six week training program which will include two weeks of firearms training. The DOC has enacted a new policy that will have all probation and parole officers armed with a .40 caliber Glock by 2018. The basic training program will also include instruction in
- First aid and CPR
- Report writing
- Self defense
- Interpersonal communication skills
After completing the basic training program, new officers in Shelby County will remain under close supervision through the first year. In each following year, officers must obtain 40 additional hours of training.
Successful Probation and Parole Programs in Shelby County
The Tennessee Department of Correction launched joint venture with the partnership of the Shelby County police community called Operation Joint Tiger Express. This program helps protect the community by finding offenders who have violated their parole or probation and applying the appropriate sanctions. During the course of this high profile initiative, almost 400 violators were found and 18 arrests made. Fifty-five citations were handed out for weapons or drug possessions.
The Tennessee DOC utilizes the services of a Sex Offender Treatment Board to evaluate, monitor and treat sex offenders. This body was created in 1995 by the State General Assembly in an effort to develop a standardized treatment process for sex offenders, implement methods of intervention and provide guidelines for their community supervision.