Find Massachusetts probation departments, such as adult, juvenile, state, and federal probation courts and offices. Probation departments provide information on parole officers, community service, parole number lookups, violation and warrant searches, and job employment.
A Probation Department is a government agency that oversees court-ordered probations that have been imposed as an alternative to incarceration. Probation orders are comprised of conditions that an offender must meet in order to avoid jail or other sanctions. The implementation of probation orders, often referred to as community-based supervision, is the responsibility of a Probation Department. The goals of a Probation Department include reducing the likelihood that offenders will commit additional crimes and rehabilitating offenders.
Community-based supervision generally requires the offender to make frequent contact with the Probation Department and to obey the law, as well as follow other elements of the court order that are specific to the individual offender and his or her crime. Offenders may be required to maintain employment or good attendance at school, seek treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, attend counseling, or pay restitution to victims. Probation orders may also impose restrictions on an offender's freedom to travel or bar the offender from contacting certain people.
Probation Departments are staffed with Probation Officers who are responsible for assessing offenders' risks and needs, ensuring that offenders comply with their court orders, and supervising their rehabilitation efforts. Probation Officers conduct scheduled and unannounced home visits and work visits to monitor offenders, administer drug tests, connect offenders to supportive services, and generally monitor their activities. Probation Officers report back to the courts on an offender's progress and make recommendations regarding community supervision. They also help victims obtain restitution. Probation Departments may also have special programs or units for intensive supervision of certain types of offenders, such as mentally ill offenders, gang members, or offenders who show a higher risk for violent behavior.
Probation Departments may also provide pre-sentencing investigations of offenders for the courts. Pre-sentencing investigations research the offender's background, gather information from victims and others, and make recommendations regarding sentencing and the suitability of probation for the offender.
Probation Departments may be either judicial branch or executive branch agencies, depending on the state. Some states implement juvenile probation, adult misdemeanor probation, and adult felony probation separately. In these states, various types of probation may be handled by different branches or at different levels of government.