Unlike many states where prisoners are allowed to make a case directly to the parole board, in Texas, prisoners never meet face to face with the Board of Pardons and Parole. Instead, prisoners meet with Institutional Parole Officers (IPO) who will conduct an interview on behalf of the Board.
During the interview, the IPO is likely to ask questions about the crime, time during incarceration, and if the offender feels remorse for their actions. Answers and officer’s recommendations will then be presented to the Board along with the offender’s file.
Basic Requirements, Education and Training to Become a Parole Officer in Dallas
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice supports jobs for 200 Institutional Parole Officers throughout the state. Unlike District Parole Officers who serve an entire area, these IPOs are assigned to detention facilities including the Dallas State Jail and the Lew Sterrett Justice Center. Another difference between IPO jobs and DPO jobs is that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will publicize a vacancy for an IPO position.
Applicants for parole officer jobs in Dallas should possess the following minimum qualifications:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Hold a bachelor’s degree, preferably with substantial coursework in one or more of these fields:
- Social work
- Criminal justice
- Possess a valid Texas driver’s license
- No felony or domestic violence convictions
Due to limited number of Institutional Parole Officer jobs, presenting the most competitive qualifications is often a wise strategy. Prospective officers should strongly consider obtaining a post-graduate degree like a Master of Social Work or Juris Doctor.
New officers must complete the six-week training program at the Parole Officer Training Academy. Within six months, new officers must also obtain certification in procedures and policies regarding the Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System. After the first year, parole officers must receive at least 20 hours of training per year.
Working as a Parole Officer in Dallas
The metropolitan Dallas area, which includes 6.6 million residents, is primarily located in Dallas County, but also includes portions of Rockwall, Collin, Kaufman and Denton Counties. The Parole Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice conducts parolee supervision in Dallas. Dallas is the headquarters for Region II of the Parole Division, which coordinates supervisory responsibilities through 12 district parole offices in major cities like Forth Worth, Denton and Sherman.
With a total number of 17,228 Dallas County residents sentenced to incarceration within state penitentiary in 2011, the number of prior convicts released into the Dallas community totaled 8,365. There were 999 offenders who were under Community Supervision, while 4,144 were under parole supervision and 3,222 who had completed their sentences. Of this number, 634 were later re-incarcerated due to a new crime or parole violation.