Probation is a diversion program that allows an individual convicted of a crime to avoid being sent to prison. It is also used to successfully return offenders to the community after they have been released from confinement. In Texas, community supervision is managed by the Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD). Failure to meet the terms of probation could result in an offender being arrested and returned to prison.
When an offender is placed on community supervision, they are assigned to the caseload of a probation officer. Probation officers are responsible for supervising a wide variety of offenders as they attempt to complete community corrections and rebuild their lives. Actively cooperating with a probation officer can greatly enhance the possibility of completing a court-ordered probation program. Typically, community supervision lasts anywhere from three to five years. Respecting the position of a community corrections officer by exhibiting the following qualities will prove to be especially beneficial:
- Honesty: Probation officers are accustomed to being lied to and deceived. Quite often, they already know the answers to the questions they ask the men and women they supervise. Establishing a reputation for honesty will go a long way toward building a mutually beneficial relationship with a community corrections officer.
- Responsibility: Whether it’s a requirement to attend education classes for drug abuse or to keep curfew, an offender can make life a good deal easier for all concerned by fulfilling the terms of a probation program. An officer may discharge a probationer only if the latter receives the certificates and verifications required under the law. The probationer is solely responsible for providing the corrections officer with the required documents and information. The person serving probation should never rely on an employer, spouse, counselor or friend to complete their probation-related business.
- Asking questions: It simply won’t do to plead ignorance when things go wrong. Officers want each of their probationers to succeed. They are more than willing to answer questions and clarify the various obligations of probation.
- Punctuality: Being punctual is an important part of fully cooperating with a probation officer. Most community supervision officers have a large caseload, and their time is valuable. Keeping appointments and providing vital information in a timely manner will make life easier for both the probation officer and the probationer. When unexpected problems suddenly arise, the probationer should promptly contact the officer to make other arrangements.
- Leaving the kids at home: A probationer should never take their children to an appointment with their officer. Simply put, a community corrections office isn’t an appropriate place for children to hang out. Not only do children distract the probationer from the important business at hand, children shouldn’t be in the company of the individuals who frequent probation offices. In addition, many of the topics that need to be discussed during a probation appointment aren’t appropriate for children. Take probation seriously by making suitable arrangements for your kids and anything else that might get in the way of successfully completing a community corrections program.
By adhering to a few simple rules, you can successfully finish your probation and get on with your life.
For help with all community supervision matters, talk to Houston attorneys The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100 and schedule a free consultation.