Many people assume that the job of probation officers in Tarrant County, Texas is to merely prevent offenders under probation from relapsing into criminal behaviors. However, their first duty is to victims and the community. In fact, probation officers work to bring some consolation to victims of crime through restitution efforts. They also help create opportunities for probationers to cope with personal issues that may have contributed to their current situation. By providing social, rehabilitative educational and employment services to offenders, probation officers can minimize problems that trigger deviant activity.
Probation Officer Education Requirements
Only individuals that fulfill educational requirements set forth by the Community Supervision and Corrections Department can expect to enter a career as a probation officer in Tarrant County. To start, the department prefers recruits with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, or a similar field. However, candidates with a degree in an unrelated field are not necessarily disqualified. A year of full-time counseling/casework experience or a year of graduate study in a related field is required of these applicants.
The Community Supervision and Corrections Department is also more likely to hire probation officers that have previous knowledge in several areas that will enhance their work performance, such as:
- Evidence-based supervision
- Treatment intervention
- Critical thinking
- Social learning theory
- Behavior management principles
- Graduated responses to non-compliance
- Relapse prevention strategies
- Motivational enhancement techniques
Probation Officer Training Requirements
Although education is definitely important, probation officers in Tarrant County must also learn how to become competent professionals through training. For example, according to the county’s Human Resources Department, probation officers meet and maintain training requirements established by the state’s Criminal Justice Assistance Division (CJAD). They must also gain community supervision officer (CSO) certification within one year of hire. Some employers may also request training that result in certification as a licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC) or a licensed professional counselor (LPC).
Employment Facts in Tarrant County
In 2010, the Texas Workforce Commission documented the employment of 6,050 probation officers and correctional treatment specialists in the state. By 2020, this figure is expected to reach 7,890. This jump in employment equates to an impressive 30.4% employment growth change in just ten years. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2012, there were 390 probation officers and correctional treatment specialist employed in the Fort Worth-Arlington Metropolitan Division. A majority of these workers were hired by state and local government agencies.
Probation Services in Tarrant County
The pulse of the probation system in Tarrant County lies in the Community Supervision and Corrections Department. The department’s has a central office located in Fort Worth and six satellite office spread across Fort Worth, Arlington, Hurst, Lake Worth and Mansfield. Probation officers function as the manpower behind most of the programs and services provided by the Community Supervision and Corrections Department, including: