There are conditions that determine whether an offender will be put on probation or parole. However, this is something that can vary depending on the state which can involve their statues or legal requirements. With that being said, we will be analyzing Texas to determine what the administrative responsibilities of probation and parole caseloads are and the classifications of probation and parole. We will also be analyzing what factors would influence the decisions of the parole board in Texas, who sits on the parole board, how they are placed in that role, and what the role/job of the parole/probation officers are beyond the administrative responsibilities.
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When it comes to the administrative responsibilities of a probation officer in Texas, according to (“Duties of Certified Juvenile Probation Officers”, 2019) there are several of those who are certified. These administrative duties include supplying a final approval of written social history reports. They must also create and carry out case plans, perform intake interviews, preliminary investigations, and give a written explanation pertaining to the process of sealing juvenile records along with a copy of the Family Code to the juvenile and their parents/guardians.
When it comes to the administrative responsibilities of a parole officer in Texas, according to (“Parole Officer I”, 2018) their job summary focuses on being able to perform entry-level parole administrative work amongst other duties as well. However, the administrative responsibilities include being able to compile information, being able to prepare social and developmental histories, documenting the offenders supervised activities, and being able to maintain required records. The parole officer must also be able to prepare evaluations, recommendations, any other related reports, data entry, retrieval, data searches and provide technical assistance as necessary.
There are two different classifications in Texas when it comes to probation caseloads. According to (“Probation in Texas”, 2011) the first one is referred to as deferred adjudication. This is typically offered to those who haven’t committed a crime prior to this. It gives the offender the opportunity to keep their criminal record clean even though the evidence against them during the proceeding can still exist. Initially, the court will defer entering a conviction of the offender awaiting their completion of going through being supervised in the community for however long of a period they are asked to do so. If they can do so positively, that charge is released, however, it could still be counted as a conviction for other reasons. On the other hand, there is a setback to deferred adjudication probation if it gets revoked. In those circumstances, the judge can sentence the offender to however long of a sentence, in prison as they feel fit. Most cases where deferred adjudication probation has been revoked the prosecutors contend that the offender receive a term of ten years.
The other classification in Texas when it comes to probation caseloads is called a suspended sentence, according to (“Probation in Texas”, 2011). However, it tends to be referred to as “straight probation”. This is something that is usually given as a bargain during court or as a part of the penalty after the trial and conviction has been completed. Although, having a suspended sentence doesn’t prevent the conviction from being on the offender’s record. However, it does allow them to be able to not have to serve any time behind bars, but there is still a possibility that they may have to as part of the conditions. There is still a chance that it can be revoked and, in the event, that it does get revoked, the judge cannot ask that the offender spend more time behind bars than the amount of time they are on probation.
There are three different types of release when it comes to parole caseloads. The first one is called parole. According to (“Parole in Texas, 2017) parole is where an offender is allowed to be supervised in the community for what's left of their sentence. However, this is something that is determined by the Parole Panel. This is considered a privilege for offenders. In other words, they must serve a certain amount of their sentence before they can become qualified for parole according to law. They also must not pose any risk to the community as well as gain work, program involvement, and behavior requirements.
The second type of release when it comes to parole caseloads is referred to as mandatory supervision release, according to (“Parole in Texas, 2017). Under mandatory supervision release, the offender must meet a few requirements in order to be eligible. Those things include having enough “calendar time” and “good time” together collected before finishing their sentence. They are like parolees who are given conditions of release, which is decided by a Parole Panel. They are also required to finish what’s left of their sentence under the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Parole Division supervision while in the community.
The third type of release when it comes to parole caseloads is referred to as direct discharge or flat discharge, according to (“Parole in Texas, 2017). This is where the offenders are not given parole and aren’t entitled to mandatory supervision release either. In other words, they must serve all of the sentence that was court ordered for them until they are freed from the custody of the state. They cannot be post-released from supervision.
When the Parole Board determines whether someone should be eligible for Parole in Texas, there are two factors they look at which allows them to come up with a score, according to (“Revised Parole Guidelines”, 2019). They look at the Risk Assessment Instrument which focuses on static and dynamic factors related to the offender’s record. Static factors include things like how old they were when they were first put in juvenile or incarcerated as an adult, their history of supervisory release revocations pertaining to felony offenses, any previous incarcerations, their employment history, and the offense that was committed. On the other hand, the dynamic factors include things like how old the offender is, whether they are in a gang and it has been confirmed, whether they have completed any educational, vocational, or on the job certified training programs during incarceration, their disciplinary conduct during incarceration, and their present prison custody level. The other factor would be the Offense Severity Class. This is determined through the score they receive based on their static and dynamic factors. The lower the score the lower of a risk is determined which says they don’t pose any risk in being released for parole.
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When it comes to sitting on the parole board, there are seven Board offices here in Texas, according to (“Board Office Locations”, 2017) They are all supervised by members of the board and this includes two parole commissioners as well. However, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles maintains two different headquarters, which are based out of Austin and Gatesville under a presiding officer.
Board members of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles are chosen by the Governor and approval of the Senate for six-year terms, according to (“Board Member Responsibilities”, 2017).
There are several duties of a certified juvenile probation officer outside of administrative responsibilities. According to (“Duties of Certified Juvenile Probation Officers”, 2019) those duties include the probation officer being able to recommend a disposition in a formal court proceeding, performing as the primary supervising officer during court-ordered and deferred prosecution cases. They must also be able to perform as the primary supervising officer in collaborative supervision agreements, according to family code 51.075, bring a child into custody when necessary, being able to serve as the nominated inter-county transfer officer, and denoting a child to the nearest mental health or some other form of mental authority. However, in the event that the juvenile probation officer isn’t certified at the time of hire, they must not go over the amount of time given to obtain their certification, complete at least forty hours of training, and pass the certification exam required to become a juvenile probation officer.
There are several duties of a parole officer outside of administrative responsibilities. According to (“Parole Officer I”, 2018) those things include visiting the offender wherever they are which would be whether that’s their place of residence, jail, correctional facility, courthouse, social services, and any other agencies. The reason for doing this is in order to attain their information, conduct interviews, counsels, and train the offender with reintegration skills for both life and cognitive skills along with ABE/GED training. They must assess modifications with the offenders to determine when adjustments to their parole supervision plans need to be made. Drug and alcohol test also must be done in order to make sure that the offender is staying in accordance to the condition of their supervision. They must also take the time to answer to any requests from the offenders and the public as well, whether that is in person, on the phone, or in writing. Lastly, they must conduct criminal information searches using the Texas Department of Public Safety criminal history system access and retrieve that information as well.
Looking at the administrative responsibilities of probation and parole caseloads, they both involve written reports and keeping documentation of the offenders. Texas has multiple classifications when it comes to probation and parole caseloads. The classifications for probation caseloads are deferred adjudication and straight probation. On the other hand, the classifications for parole caseloads are parole, mandatory supervision release, and direct discharge. However, the things that influence the parole board includes the risk assessment instrument which has static and dynamic factors as well as the offense severity class which puts the offender on a scale as far as the level of risk, they are based upon all the factors. When it comes to the parole board in Texas there are board members who are selected by the Governor. Lastly, there are duties outside of administrative responsibilities for both probation and parole officers. The probation officer may have to take a child into custody while the parole officer must perform an alcohol or drug test on the offender to make sure they are staying on track with their conditions of supervision.
- (N.D) (October 23, 2017) Board Member Responsibilities. Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Retrieved from https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/bpp/brd_members/brd_members.html Even though this source doesn’t provide an author, it does list the date it was last updated and it was provided by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
- (N.D) (January 10, 2017) Board Office Locations. Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Retrieved from https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/bpp/brd_locations/brd_locations.html Even though this source doesn’t provide an author, it does list the date it was last updated and it was provided by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
- (N.D) (August 1, 2019) Duties of Certified Juvenile Probation Officers. ELaws.US. Retrieved from http://txrules.elaws.us/rule/title37_chapter341_sec.341.400 Even though this source, doesn’t provide an author, it list the date it was last updated and is provided through ELaws which was a web source created by two people who have previous experience in the field of the government.
- (N.D) (November 9, 2018) Texas Department of Criminal Justice Job Description. [PDF File] Retrieved from https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/divisions/hr/pd/051047.pdf Even though this source doesn’t provide an author, it list the date that it was last updated and it is a PDF File that was provided from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- (N.D) 2017. Parole in Texas. [PDF File] Retrieved from https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/documents/pd/PIT_English.pdf Even though this source doesn’t provide an author, it list the date it was published and it is a PDF File that was provided from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
- (N.D) (November 2011) Probation in Texas. Retrieved from http://www.texasparoleattorney.com/types-of-probation-in-texas.html Even though this source doesn’t provide an author, it does list the date it was published and is provided through a law officer here in Texas.
- (N.D) (January 22, 2019) Revised Parole Guidelines. Texas Board of Pardons and Parolees. Retrieved from https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/bpp/parole_guidelines/parole_guidelines.html Even though this source doesn’t provide an author, it list the date it was last updated, and it was provided by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.
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