The goal of probation is to instill positive change in the probationers’ behavior. Every probation officer might have their own style of supervision. Various research and tools have also been made available in the last few decades that shaped how probation must be done. So, what’s the best method out there? It is always best to employ evidence-based practice as well as standardized tools when it comes to probation case supervision to ensure the most benefit out of the process.
Paul Ventura of Yavapai County and Michelle Hart of Coconino County are two Probation Officers who have gone through extensive experience in the field of adult probation supervising with intensive, standard, and interstate probation. They have decades worth of service where they were able to apply and put to the test various techniques in case supervision.
Some of the subjects that Michelle and Paul tackled on today’s course include:
- The history and trend of probation from the 80s to late 2000s.
- What the current environment looks like for probation and parole and why it’s become somewhat problematic.
- The challenge for probation officers to make clients understand the objective of the process.
- The importance of field contacts for probation officers and how they help to respond to behavior violations.
Guidelines for more efficient field contact through:
- Varied work hours that allow them to check on clients even after business hours.
- Availability in different places that the client is in and ability to build relationship with people in these places — their family, colleagues, etc.
- The importance of conducting both scheduled and unscheduled visits to get a sense of how they are in their best effort and when they’re unaware.
- Role modeling as an effective method of teaching which allows the clients to practice better interaction and behavior.
- Optimizing searches in compliance with policies to learn more about the client’s living conditions and behavior.
Best practices for office contact by:
- Developing rapport from the first contact by setting the tone, establishing roles, and clarifying goals.
- Using tools like motivational interviewing, EPICS-II and role modeling to communicate with the client, collaborate with other stakeholders, and coordinate with the clients’ family, friends, colleagues, etc.
- Utilizing standardized and validated assessment tools to gauge client risks and needs and set proximal and distal goals.
- Ensuring safety in the field and executing planned arrests
- Implementing effective drug and alcohol testing and treatment through random, observed and multiple-substance testing and in collaboration with treatment providers.
- Practicing time management when dealing with clients by ensuring quality vs. quantity, keeping calendars, and exercising self-care.
- Poll questions asked about the audience’s agencies’ practices and protocols.
The webinar attendees clarified various topics during the Q&A portion, to which Paul and Michelle expounded on:
- Their opinion on acceptable time to do residence checks and field visits.
- Policies and procedures in effect in Michelle and Paul’s counties when conducting searches or arrests.
- Role clarification with collateral sources and support systems.
- Setting meeting appointments with the probation clients depending on their risk levels
- Responding to violations and applying progressive sanctions.