Find out what it takes to become a Probation Officer
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Probation officers make sure offenders comply with their community-based sentences and orders as imposed by the court.
This involves meeting with offenders regularly, either at community corrections sites or the offender’s residence to make sure they are meeting the requirements of their sentence and have the support they need to do so. Probation officers also prepare reports and recommendations for the courts and the New Zealand Parole Board.
Probation officers motivate and encourage offenders to make positive changes in their lives, and this often means working closely with friends, family/whanau, programme facilitators and community work supervisors as well as other agencies such as Work and Income, the Salvation Army and Child, Youth and Family. Probation officers will make referrals to programmes that may assist offenders with an issue or problem specific to their offending type, or that may have contributed to their offending.
What are we looking for?
- work well in a team
- are able to identify and respond to potentially challenging situations
- have good communication skills
- are able to assess and analyse information to make informed decisions
- are flexible and resilient
- can relate to people from all walks of life
- enjoy writing and can comfortably use computers and technology
- preferably hold tertiary qualifications in areas such as psychology, sociology and social work (this is not essential).
Previously: Account manager - sales
Now: Probation officer
Quenten was selling computer products when a friend who was a probation officer told him about how he felt being able to change someone’s life.
“An offender came up to my friend and shook his hand, and told him his life was in a better place because of him. That’s what I wanted to be able to do for people.”
He always knew he wanted to help people, especially Pacific Islanders and Mâori, as he grew up in a similar environment. He is a Pacific Island champion at his site, and is always looking for community organisations that can support this particular group of offenders.
Quenten says the communication skills he used in sales helped with his job as a probation officer.
|Salary range||Hours||Driver licence required?||Uniform||Training|
|$54,446 – $68,500||40 hour week over five days between Monday and Saturday||Yes||An allowance is provided by the department to purchase work wear||Frontline Start (three weeks)
Role specific training (26 weeks)
Probation Officer Curriculum
The Probation Officer Curriculum (POC) follows on from Frontline Start (see below) and provides a curriculum for new probation officers over 26 weeks.
POC consists of a blend of five workplace modules and four classroom-based courses. The alternating workplace modules and classroom-based courses are designed to offer the probation officer a mixture of on-the-job experience and coaching in the workplace, structured group and individual learning activities, and off-site skills development training. The five week classroom-based courses are delivered in Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland or Hamilton.
Probation officers are provided support and professional development by their manager, experienced staff from their team and probation practice leaders as they complete each workplace module. Probation officers also join a POC cohort (a group of new probation officers who have also completed Frontline Start) to attend each classroom-based course and complete joint online learning activities.
- Develop knowledge and understanding of the legal and practice content that is relevant to their role
- Complete Provision of Advice to courts
- Complete Parole Assessment Reports
- Manage a range of sentences and court orders
- Identify and respond appropriately to non compliance by offenders
- Assess the risk that offenders pose and identify appropriate responses to a wide range of risk situations
- Apply a range of practice strategies to promote and maintain changes in offending behaviour
- Develop an awareness of victim related practice issues and processes
- Develop a range of skills to engage effectively and safely with offenders
- Determine appropriate responses to a range of complex casework scenarios
- Make and document well reasoned decisions
- Consult appropriately with others on your practice.
Frontline Start is a three week programme designed to give new staff an understanding of what Corrections does and how they play their part in reducing re-offending in their new role. You will join with other new staff from around the country beginning their careers with Corrections in a range of frontline roles. The first and third weeks of the programme are spent in Wellington at Corrections’ National Office. Corrections will arrange and pay for travel, accommodation and food for weeks one and three and for any other training that requires staff to be away from home.