Probation violations range from missing a meeting with a parole officer or skipping an agreed-upon restitution payment to drug and weapons violations. Depending on the severity of the violation and where it occurred, a probation officer steps in to rein in the violator and move forward under the laws of the jurisdiction in which the violation occurred. A federal crime, such as money laundering, weapons, sex or drug trafficking charges, or any crime that violates the Constitution or federal statues, is prosecuted in a federal court, so probation is overseen by a federal probation officer. State and local crimes are referred to local courts and the local probation offices.
Identifying a Parole Violation
You know your neighbor is on parole for selling drugs, yet cars pull up to his house at all hours of the day and night. You suspect he’s still selling drugs and putting your neighborhood in jeopardy. Since many drug convictions are federal crimes, reporting your suspicions to a federal probation office is warranted.
Murder, rape, theft and robbery are just some of the state crimes overseen by the state probation offices, with the majority of all crimes prosecuted in state courts. It’s not up to you to determine if your parole violator is in jeopardy from federal or state courts. Just report your concerns locally, and the complaint will find its way up the chain.
Contact Your Local Police
Most likely, your violator isn’t going to be forthcoming with his probation officer’s information. Additionally, delving too deeply into his lifestyle may put you in jeopardy. Instead, contact your local police and ask to speak with their probation department. Voice your complaint anonymously or offer your name and contact information. Know that you may be called upon to testify if the violator is retried.
State and Federal Probation Offices
If you feel your complaint isn’t going anywhere, dig deeper into state and federal probation offices to find the one your violator reports to. The internet is your starting point. Search for state probation offices and narrow them down to the county in which you live. One or two clicks reveal the office’s address and telephone number. Start there.
Information for the United States Probation Office for federal violators is also available online. Enter “Federal Probation Offices” plus the name of your state into your search bar, and it should lead you to the contact information you need.
Read More: How to Find Someone's Probation Officer
Your Side of the Story
When you speak to the appropriate parole officer, tell them what you observed that you think is the parole violation. You’ll need to give the parolee’s name, what led you to contact the parole office, and whether the parolee’s behavior appears to be a threat to your or your family’s safety. Dates, times and any digital proof of a suspected violation are all helpful. Let the parole officer determine the next steps.
Reporting a Violator Anonymously
If you really don’t want to get involved but feel compelled to report a possible parole violator, call Crime Stoppers. This non-profit organization has led to the arrest of thousands of felons and has issued hundreds of thousands of dollars in reward money. All tips are given anonymously via a secure tip line. You receive a code number, which is the only identification the organization has for you.
Your identity won’t be revealed to anyone, and you can feel safe giving whatever information you have to the professional coordinator you speak with. The Crime Stoppers website provides country-wide contact information. Crime Stoppers will deliver your information to the appropriate parole office.
- In most states, the probation officer has the right to either give a warning to the offender or to schedule a probation violation hearing for more serious offenses.
A writer for many years, Jann has contributed to television programming revolving around legal issues, written for magazines and web sites regarding the law, and her manuals on real estate law specifics are used in real estate schools in Florida.