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Post Sentence Supervision


U.S. Probation Officers are community corrections professionals who serve as officers of the court and as agents of the U.S. Parole Commission. They are responsible for the supervision of persons conditionally released to the community by the Courts, the Parole Commission, and military authorities. U.S. Probation Officers supervise offenders who are sentenced to a term of probation by the Court, or who are on supervised release or parole after they are released from the Bureau of Prisons or the military. Utilizing a variety of strategies, services, and treatment options, U.S. Probation Officers monitor offender compliance with the conditions of supervision and work with offenders to facilitate their reintegration into the community as law-abiding and productive members of society. The desired outcomes of supervision are the enforcement of the sentence and the protection of the community by reducing the risk and recurrence of crime and maximizing offender success during the period of supervision and beyond. The goal in all cases is the successful completion of the term of supervision, during which the offender commits no new crimes; is held accountable for victim, family, community and other court-imposed responsibilities; and prepares for continued success through improvements in his or her conduct and condition.


Supervision is a dynamic process throughout which officers are to keep informed and, consistent with the conditions of release and individual circumstances, intervene with strategies designed to manage risk and provide offenders with the tools and social services they may require to succeed. It is through such intervention in higher risk cases that officers further the goal of public safety during the period of supervision and beyond.


Officers carry out these responsibilities by assessing the risks, needs and strengths of each offender to determine the appropriate level of supervision; and then utilizing skills from various disciplines to simultaneously monitor and, as necessary, control and correct offender behavior. These include the investigation skills of law enforcement, but to the primary purpose of planning for success rather than documenting failure. They include the treatment and service delivery skills of social workers, but with a primary focus on improving circumstances that are linked to criminal behavior (e.g., substance abuse; mental health; employment; education; family/community support).


Supervision FAQs

Who qualifies for DNA collection?

Those convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense in certain categories (see your officer for more details) must submit to a DNA sample collection. Failure to cooperate in the collection of the sample may be treated as a violation of supervision conditions and/or a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a sentence of one year in prison and fines up to $100,000.

Can I travel while on supervision?

Travel is prohibited for the first 60 days of release. Work-related travel may be allowed only after first informing your officer. Travel requests are to be submitted at least two weeks in advance. International travel requires Court approval, so travel requests should be submitted at least four weeks in advance.

Can I have contact with codefendants?

Individuals on federal supervision are not allowed to have contact with convicted felons or persons involved in any criminal activity (unless given permission to do so by your officer).

Do I need to report incidents with other law enforcement agencies?

Yes. All clients under supervision must report ALL law enforcement contacts, even situations that are non-criminal. Traffic violations, for example, need to be reported.


Mental Health Treatment FAQs

What is Mental Health Treatment?

Mental health treatment is a risk management tool that provides U.S. Pretrial Services and Probation Officers the ability to supervise and monitor clients in the community. Mental health treatment may include psychological or psychiatric testing and counseling on different levels, such as individual, family or group sessions. These sessions will have either a psychologist, psychiatrist or other licensed practitioner present.

Who receives mental health treatment?

Mental health treatment is ordered by the U.S. District Court or by the U.S. Parole Commission as a condition of supervision. The treatment provides the probation officer with the means to directly address the client’s mental health condition. For clients under supervision, treatment helps the probation officer control the risks that the client may pose to society, and deter criminal behavior. Treatment also helps assure clients will appear in Court and that the community is protected from potential harm.

Who provides mental health treatment?

Counselors, psychologists and other professionals provide treatment under a contract agreement with the U.S. District Court. The probation officer serves as a coordinator of treatment services, matches the client to the appropriate treatment provider, monitors the client’s progress and compliance with treatment, controls procurement funds and oversees the various treatment providers.

What services do mental health contractors provide?

In order to address a client’s individual needs, probation officers have access to a variety of treatment services and providers. These treatments may include:
Psychological or psychiatric evaluation and testing;
Individual , group, or family counseling;
Sex offender (individual or group therapy);
Substance abuse counseling;
Transportation; and
Consultations between officers and mental health professionals to discuss issues.

What if treatment is unsuccessful?

Officers are encouraged to initiate various treatment approaches before proceeding with revocation procedures. If the client is non-compliant with the conditions of mental health treatment, then the client poses a risk to the community and revocation procedures may be initiated.


Substance Abuse Treatment FAQs

What is the Substance Abuse Treatment Program?

The Substance Abuse Treatment Program is a national program that guides U.S. Pretrial Services and Probation officers in identifying and treating the substance abusers under their supervision. The program enables officers, some who are substance abuse specialists, to supervise substance-abusing defendants and offenders in the community and to ensure public safety while doing so.

How are substance abusers identified?

Defendants or offenders may simply tell their officers that they have a substance abuse problem. A repeat offender may have been identified previously with having a drug problem by an officer trained to identify physical and behavioral signs of substance abuse. Records and reports (some obtained from state and local law enforcement), interviews with the individual and their families, and drug testing, are also ways of identifying a substance abuse problem.

How is substance abuse detected?

Breathalyzers are used to test for alcohol. Urianlyses are used to test for drugs and can be ordered by the Court or the U.S. Parole Commission. Testing usually is unscheduled or random, or could be required through the Code-A-Phone system, which is a random urinalysis scheduling system. Urinalyses are useful tools to deter the recreational drug user, as well as the long-time drug user.

How is treatment provided?

Treatment is mainly provided by treatment providers who are under contract with the U.S. District Court. Contracts are awarded through a competitive and rigorous process. The treatment specialist serves as a coordinator of treatment services. They match the client to the appropriate treatment provider, monitor the person’s progress and compliance with treatment, control treatment and testing funds, and oversee various treatment providers.

What services do contractors provide?

In order to address a client's individual needs, officers require access to a variety of treatment. Contractors provide a wide spectrum of treatment, including:
Individual, group, family and intensive outpatient counseling;
Detoxification or antagonistic treatment;
Physical examinations;
Psychological/psychiatric work-ups;
Substance abuse prevention and relapse prevention programs;
And more.
Treatment makes a drug or alcohol-abusing individual better able to function in the community. It teaches them how to refrain from drugs or alcohol use and how to cope with their issues without the use these substances. It also motivates a person to become a productive member of society. Treatment also provides a way for officers to monitor and control the client's behavior.

What if someone is still using despite treatment?

Should a client continue to use prohibited substances during or after treatment, then revoking supervision is possible. It is encouraged that officers use any viable treatment before initiating revocation. If the client continues to submit positive specimens, fails to provide specimens, or provides “doctored” specimens, officers are required to report these incidents to the Court.