Stephen L. Enders, former Director of the West Texas Community Supervision and Corrections Department, stated, “Adult Probation is a success story” (as reported by Guadalupe Silva, Newspaper Tree, 2009). Enders said, at the time, that 80% of those serving probation in El Paso successfully completed their program without committing new offenses. He credited his staff as those truly wanting to assist their probationers and that probation work was a helping profession.
Some are inclined to think, once a criminal always a criminal. But there are numerous instances where probationers have taken their non-imprisonment sentence seriously and turned their lives around. The U.S. Probation Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin describes some of its success stories on its website. For example, when Anthony began his probation at the age of 55, he had never held down a legitimate job. As part of his supervised release, he attended the Job Club which prepared him for work with a staffing agency allowing him to receive a regular paycheck for the very first time.
The Chief Probation Officers of California share the story of Vansouk Lianemany. As a youth, Lianemany had gotten involved with a gang which led to crimes and ultimately juvenile court. When introduced to his probation officer, Lianemany had a very low self esteem and didn’t know how to turn his life around. The probation officer was persistent and helped him get counseling, education and encouraged him to form new relationships. Lianemany is now a senior engineer for a technology company and mentors teens.
Last year, Rebecca Arnold was awarded Youth Probation Officer of the Year in Pennsylvania. Teamster Magazine reported that in her then 10-year long career, she had seen many success stories. For any probation officer there is bound to be some disappointments and heartache, but in the case of Arnold, the many probationers that have rehabilitated on her watch have probably benefited from her passion for the job. Arnold does home-checks to see if the teens are keeping their rooms clean and grades up; she does community service projects right alongside them, whether it be picking up trash or scooping up manure.
Do you have the passion and drive to help criminals rehabilitate? If you are interested in working as an adult or juvenile probation officer, look into completing a degree in criminal justice, sociology, corrections, psychology or a related field.