In 2011, Bexar County had a total of 5,025 offenders released from state prisons reenter the community. Of this number 284 were under Community Supervision, 2,868 were under parole supervision and 1,873 had completed their term of imprisonment. Out of this population 463 were re-incarcerated for a technical violation of the terms of their supervision or for a new crime.
Located in Bexar County, San Antonio is also the site of the headquarters for Region IV of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Parole Division. Region IV has 14 district offices including several in major cities like Austin, Corpus Christi and Laredo.
The number of offenders granted parole has increased to 40 percent of eligible prisoners in recent years due to several factors. Many of these prisoners were sentenced during the 1990s when a three strikes law led to a higher number of convictions. This has contributed to a larger population of offenders eligible for parole. Another important factor is that the Board has chosen to put more offenders under parole supervision rather than permit them to leave prison at the end of their sentences unsupervised.
What it Takes to Become a Parole Officer in San Antonio, Texas
Education and Other Requirements – In order to become a parole officer in San Antonio with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, job applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be 18 years or older
- Have a bachelor’s degree, preferably with significant coursework in the following areas:
- Social work
- Criminal justice
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Possess a valid state driver’s license
- Possess or be able to acquire a certificate in the policy and procedures regarding Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System
- No dishonorable military discharges
- No felony or domestic violence convictions
Mandatory Training – Once hired, new officers must complete a six-week training curriculum at the Parole Officer Training Academy.
Firearms training is not included in this basic training program, but officers who would like to acquire the right to carry and use firearms may do so through applying to the TDCJ; a psychological evaluation must be performed prior to approval.
Following the initial year, parole officers must obtain 20 additional hours of training, and re-qualify with firearms.
The Parole Process
Parole officer jobs in San Antonio involve becoming involved in the lives of potential parolees months before they may come before the Board of Pardons and Parole. Officers seek to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the offender’s criminal and personal history including use of narcotics, behavior in prison, physical and mental conditions and episodes of violence.
Once before the Board, the results of a Risk Assessment Instrument are presented. This tool considers age, work history, history of incarcerations, mental health and substance abuse issues to determine the risks associated with releasing the offender. Board members also grant considerable weight to the class of offense.