Six Questions You MUST Ask Your Probation Officer

So, you’ve just been placed on probation or perhaps you’ve been on probation a while.  There are 6 questions you absolutely MUST ask your Probation Officer.

But First. . .

You must understand the importance of these questions.  It’s not to simply give a list of questions and get a list of answers but rather showing that you are serious about this probation stuff. You are setting the impression that you will treat your probation like a CEO runs his business, and that you will do whatever it takes to succeed. Feel free to bring these questions with you so you don’t forget any and show a humble confidence that expresses the importance of the questions when you ask.

  1. What are the best ways to contact you if I have a question or emergency?

Make sure you get their phone number, address and email address.

  1. In the event I can’t reach you in an emergency, what is the name and contact info of your supervisor?

This can prove critical if you have to suddenly go out if town and your probation officer is unavailable.   I had a death of immediate family in TX and my PO was on vacation that week.  I didn’t have the supervisor's number which was the very mistake I want you to avoid and didn’t get much direction when I called the main probation number for help.  Fortunately, I kept a card from the lady who supervised the A&D treatment programs and I called her.  Due to the positive impression when we met she was very helpful and I received my travel voucher.

  1. May I have a copy of all the documents in my probation file?

The importance of this is explained in the “Useful Tips” chapter of How to Survive Probation. Then Follow my guidelines as to what goes into the file.

  1. Do you allow phone or mail in reporting, and if so what do I need to do to earn that privilege?

Reporting is the critical to your success, but weekly physical reporting can be a real pain in the rear. Often probation officers will allow alternative means of reporting if you achieve certain goals, and depending on the offense.  But you’ll never know if you don’t ask. I thought I was already on the most lenient reporting at once per month.  I later found out some people could report once every 3 months if they mailed in monthly reports.  When I mentioned it to my PO they were happy to switch me over.  But it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t ask.

  1. If I complete all of my conditions early, can I be placed on unsupervised probation?

Different places have different rules, but most of the time, if you complete the conditions of probation early, you can be placed on unsupervised probation. Usually this means that all the rules of supervision are gone and the only way you would violate your probation is if you are arrested for a new offense.

  1. Other than the actual violations of probation is there anything that your probationers do that irritates you so I know how to stay on your good side?

Everyone has pet peeves and the last person you want to annoy is your probation officer.  Make sure you say it with a smile.  You will almost certainly catch them off guard and the smile will let them know you aren’t being a smart ass.  The fact that you ask will score you points and if they give a response, you know what to avoid.

These questions are the most important things you will ask, but they may not answer all your questions.  I cannot express how important it is that you understand everything that your probation expects you to do so you can plan to do it.  Make sure that you know what your probation expects you to do so you can plan to do it.  Make sure you are polite, and whatever else you do, don’t argue with them.  If you disagree with something they are asking you to do, very politely say, “my understanding was xyz. Can you explain where I may have got mixed up?” The key here is to allow the probation officer to double check without feeling like you are challenging them.  I go into much more detail in my book so if you haven’t purchased your copy then what are you waiting for? Click here NOW!