Probation officer | Selby College
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Probation officer

Probation officers supervise people serving community and prison sentences and help them to stay away from crime.

Potential salary

£22,250 to £40,000

Employment by 2024


Working hours

36 to 38 a week

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of psychology
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • the ability to work on your own
  • customer service skills
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

In this role you could:

  • interview offenders before sentencing or parole
  • make sure offenders attend supervision appointments and take part in group programmes
  • run programmes to change offenders' behaviour
  • assess risks and write reports to help prisons and parole review boards decide about early release
  • work with victims of violent or sexual crime when prisoners are being considered for parole
  • work with prisoners about to be released

You could work in a prison, in a court, in an office or in the community.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

With experience you could become a senior probation officer.

With further training you could specialise in working with particular groups, like high-risk or sexual offenders.

Further promotion usually means moving into management and away from working with offenders. You could become an area manager.

You'll find more on how to become a probation officer from HM Prison & Probation Service.

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