Out of a population of 1.85 million residents within Tarrant County, 10,829 were imprisoned in state penitentiaries. In 2011, 5,494 offenders were released into the community. Only 245 were released into Community Supervision, while 2,819 remained under parole supervision. The remaining 2,430 were not supervised. Of this population of offenders, 390 were later returned to prison.
In partnership with Tarrant Cares, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has established a District Reentry Center in Fort Worth. This center provides a variety of services for offenders seeking to acclimatize to life outside of the penal system. These services include substance abuse education, cognitive intervention, anger management, pre-employment preparation, and victim impact classes. Most of these services are administered by community-based organizations in close collaboration with the Parole Division.
Parole violations may invoke a wide variety of responses from parole authorities. In some cases, a minor violation may only warrant a written or verbal reprimand, while, for parolees under more intensive supervision, the immediate response may be detention in an Intermediate Sanction Facility (ISF). ISF detention is often a prelude to a revocation hearing, which may result in an offender being returned to prison.
How to Become a Parole Officer in Fort Worth, Texas
Although Fort Worth is the county seat of Tarrant County, the city also takes up portions of Denton, Parker, Wise and Johnson counties. The Parole Division manages supervision of parolees in the area. Fort Worth is a major hub with three district offices within Region II of the Parole Division. This region also includes offices in Sherman, Dallas and Waxahachie.
Requirements – In order to qualify for parole officer jobs in Fort Worth, candidates must meet the following minimum standards:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a bachelor’s degree, preferably with substantial coursework in
- Social work
- Criminal justice
- Hold a valid Texas driver’s license
- No dishonorable military discharges
- No felony or domestic violence convictions
Candidates may also wish to consider obtaining experience in the counseling, social work, or community supervision fields through paid employment, volunteering or internships. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice provides opportunities in several of these areas for those interested in learning how to become parole officers.
Training – New parole officers must complete a six-week orientation program at the Parole Officer Training Academy. Although self-defense with the use of pepper spray, tasers and batons is included, the use of firearms is not. Officers may request the right to carry and use firearms once a psychological evaluation has been performed and a request has been submitted to the TDCJ. Following the first year, parole officers must take at least 20 hours of training classes annually.