How to Talk to a Probation Officer

By Kristyn Hammond
Your probation officer is your ally while navigating through a rough time in your life.

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While you are on probation, your probation officer has a tremendous amount of power over your life but she is also a valuable resource to help you get your life back on track. Facilitate her efficient care of your case by preparing necessary information before your appointment, arriving at your appointment early and staying in the right mindset throughout your appointment. Your probation officer is not your opponent; she is a caring professional working to guide you through a difficult time in your life.

Dress well for your meeting with your probation officer and present yourself well. You want to leave a positive impression on him and appearance is your first opportunity to do so. If you must rush to make it to your appointment with your probation officer after work, do what you can with your appearance but at least present yourself professionally.

Arrive early for your appointment and wait patiently. If your work schedule contradicts your appointment time, alert your probation officer early and reschedule your time. Never skip your appointments with your officer and call her immediately if you encounter an emergency that will keep you from making it to your appointment on time.

Take a written or typed copy of important information with you to your meeting. If you have recently changed jobs or were hired for a new job, write your boss' name and contact numbers. If you have recently moved, write down your new address and contact information for your probation officer. Keep all personal information written down and give him the opportunity to copy this information for your file.

Prepare a list of future activities that require permission from your probation officer. These include events that will require you leaving town or missing future appointments. Go over this list with your probation officer and ensure that she keeps a record of these events. Always obtain permission before doing anything that could violate your probation.

Ask your probation officer for advice regarding your case and your probation responsibilities. He has valuable experience working with cases like yours and can provide guidance to help you through your probation. He can also suggest potential employers in town who are willing to hire employees who are on probation.

Avoid negative reactions to personal questions or mistreatment during your meeting with your probation officer. Seek anonymous methods of reporting this treatment after your meeting. Your probation officer has the right to request some personal information from you and to specifically question you about the nature of your case. Questions beyond this scope may be a violation of your rights but you should not address them with your probation officer directly.

About the Author

Kristyn Hammond has been teaching freshman college composition at the university level since 2010. She has experience teaching developmental writing, freshman composition, and freshman composition and research. She currently resides in Central Texas where she works for a small university in the Texas A&M system of schools.

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