Probation officers are responsible for investigating a probationer's background and updating any relevant information to the court. They're also responsible for monitoring restitution and making referrals to social workers if needed for the probationer's rehabilitation. Probation officers are expected to do all this in a professional manner while following proper ethical standards. If they do not, they may face fines or be placed on leave.
Any sexual advances from probation officers toward probationers are considered inappropriate. This includes verbal and physical sexual advances and this is a valid reason to request a new probation officer. This would include any unprofessional, flirtatious behavior. For example, it's not appropriate for officers and probationers to exchange gifts or meet outside the office.
A probation officer is expected to keep private, personal information obtained from the probationer confidential unless its disclosure is required by law. Sharing personal information with family, friends or staff is not allowed. If this is breached in any way, there is a legitimate reason to change probation officers.
Probation officers are not allowed to discriminate against anyone because of their race, sex, sexual orientation, age or religion. Some of this is hard to prove, but if a probationer feels discriminated against they should mention it to the probation officer's superior. In other instances, such as an officer making racial slurs, it's obviously discrimination. If the probation officer is proven discriminatory against the probationer, it's not fair or appropriate for the relationship to continue. There may legal repercussions against the agency. This is also consider valid grounds for changing probation officers.
Conflict of Interest
If the probation officer has a personal relationship with a relative, friend or a professional relationship that's connected to the probationer, that would create a conflict of interest. Changing the probation officer would be in the best interest of both, because each could be accused of a conflict of interest and the probation officer could be fined and/or placed on leave. In the probationer's case, she could be accused of bargaining with the officer if there was a mutual business interest. Anything positive that occurred between the officer and the probationer could be undone because of this conflict of interest.
Sandra Williams has been writing articles online since 2007. Her specialties include health, nutrition, parenting and book reviews. She's worked as a chef, has taken nutrition courses at Conestoga College and has a diploma in Web design from CDI College. Her work has appeared on sites such as eHow and Answerbag.