Probation officers with a career in Harris County, Texas provide court supervision services to the largest populated county in the state, not to mention the third most populated county in the nation. The county’s size can be attributed to its county seat, Houston, the biggest city in Texas. It also lies within the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area.
Those that learn how to become a probation officer in Harris County through training and education are actually dubbed “community supervision officers” by the state legislation. According to the county’s Community Supervision and Corrections Department, these officers help to maintain public safety by monitoring close to 38,000 felony and misdemeanor offenders in twenty-two district courts as well as fifteen county criminal courts.
Probation Officer Education
All probation officers must hold a bachelor’s degree from an educational institution approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Preferably, this degree is expected to be in one of the following subjects:
- Police Science
- Rehabilitative Studies
- Criminal justice
- Social Work
- Law Enforcement
In addition, all probations officers with jobs in Harris County, Illinois must complete one year of graduate school in one of the above-mentioned disciplines. However, one year of full-time experience in counseling, casework, community work or group counseling may be substituted in lieu of graduate study.
Probation Officer Certification
Probation officers frequently interact with legal professionals, court staffs and criminal offenders as part of their daily job routines. As such, the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department is adamant that all probation officers receive a strong fusion of career-related education, experience and certification prior to applying for a job here.
In preparation for hire, wannabe probation officers in Harris County are strongly encouraged to gain at least two years of experience as a State Certified Community Supervisor Officer. In the event that a candidate is hired without earning certification, they will have no more than one year to achieve certification. This certification can be acquired online through a source such as the Correctional Management Institute of Texas.
Local Employment Figures
The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 6,320 probation officers and correctional treatment specialists enjoyed active employment in Texas as of 2012. Of this total, 1,530 of these workers practiced in the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown region. At last count, the Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department was supported by a staff of nearly 875 employees, including probation officers.
Probation Officer Job Expectations
Once employed, probation officers are responsible for a broad spectrum of tasks in Harris County. The Texas Workforce Commission highlights a number of major job responsibilities, including:
- Providing offenders with social assistance
- Keeping case folders current and accurate
- Writing progress reports about offenders
- Communicating supervision conditions to offenders
- Investigating offenders’ backgrounds
- Arranging treatment services for offenders