Q:

What requirements must a probation officer follow in guarding confidential information?

A:

Quick Answer

Probation officers must take steps such as ensuring documents are secure, confirming that they are legally required to divulge information before doing so, and officially reporting any information that is disclosed. They are required to protect the identity and personal and private information about the persons they are reporting on.

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Full Answer

Probation officers must keep legal documents and physical copies of information about their clients secure at all times to prevent disclosure, and they are prohibited from releasing any such information except in the course of official duties and as required by law. When they are required to release information, they must first ask if the disclosure is mandatory and permitted, and keep in mind that they are working on behalf of the judge and not of the police. Releases of information are then kept on record to maintain that a probation officer does not misuse the privileged information at their disposal.

Probation officers acquire a great deal of information during the course of their jobs, and since confidentiality is a major priority for the Department of Justice, handling information is a complex issue. Therefore, probation officers must always use their sound judgement in order to keep information private, with the main objective being to keep both their clients and the public safe.

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