Parole officers oversee and monitor individuals who have recently been released from prison. A felon who has been released from prison must follow rules and regulations mandated by the state, court and parole board. Parole officers must keep track of parolees and help keep them in line. They also learn the life and criminal history of the person they oversee. They make planned and surprise visits to the home of past offenders to make sure they are following the conditions of their parole. Parole officers can also use GPS tracking to ensure the parolee doesn't visit locations they are supposed to avoid.
Tracking the movement of parolees is only part of the job. A large part of parole officers' jobs is similar to the job of a counselor or social worker. They might need to help their parolee find a job or job training, appropriate housing, government assistance or substance abuse counseling. Parole officers also have to deal with offenders who break the conditions of their parole. The officers have several ways to deal with an offender: They can recommend that the offender goes back to jail, add stricter conditions to the parole, or they can use constructive counseling techniques to show the parolee better ways to handle bad situations.
Parole officers frequently testify in court and in front of parole boards regarding a parolee's actions and behavior. They also make recommendations based on the disposition of the offender.
Most parole officers work in county, state, or federal offices, but they spend a lot of time out of the office visiting the people they oversee. Some parole officers work in prisons and conduct reports for the parole board in anticipation of parole hearings. Most parole officers have a history in law enforcement, and many have a degree in criminal justice, counseling or social work.