Probation officers, known as community supervision officers in some states, assist and monitor offenders to reduce the likelihood of the offender committing new crimes, explains the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The duties of a probation officer are investigative, administrative, casework and legal. Probation officers supervise offenders who receive probation instead of jail, who serve jail time or who are released after serving time in prison.
Through personal contact with an offender and the offender's family, probation officers evaluate offenders to assess the most suitable form of rehabilitation, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. They generate reports that outline an offender's treatment plan and the progress made since being on probation. To best understand a probationer's needs, officers oversee meetings with the offender and the offender's family and friends while staying in contact with the offender through regularly scheduled phone calls, office visits, and home and work checks. Typically, probation officers test offenders for drugs and provide substance abuse counseling when appropriate.
A probation officer explains to the probationer the mandates for release and supervises those conditions, notes the Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute. The officer must report progress to the sentencing court while employing all suitable methods to help an offender improve conduct and conditions. The officer helps ensure payment of fines and restitution, and must report to the court any deviation of payment.