FAQ

 

Q:  Can I work in law enforcement if I have a criminal record?

A:  To determine the impact your criminal record may have on your ability to get a job in criminal justice, contact the agency with which you are interested in applying.  The agency can advise you on their specific hiring standards. Generally, considerations include the type of position applied for and the seriousness of the offense committed.

 


Q:  Where is the probation department located?

A:  Our offices are located at 503 Oak Street in Palo Pinto, across from the south side of the Palo Pinto County Courthouse, on the corner of Oak Street and South 6th Avenue.  Our mailing address is P.O.Box 99, Palo Pinto, TX  76484-0099.  Our phone number is 940-659-1280.

 


 Q:  What are you hours of operation?

A:  Our offices are open weekdays:  Monday through Friday from 8:00 A.M. to noon and 12:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M.  In addition, we open at 7:00 A.M. on Tuesday and Thursday the second week of each month to accommodate those offenders who work full time during the day.  We are not open on Saturdays, Sundays or on holidays approved by the Palo Pinto County Commissioners’ Court.

 


Q:  What is the difference between “community supervision” and “probation”?

A:  There is no difference between the terms “community supervision” and “probation”; they mean the same thing and are used interchangeably.  In 1990, the Texas Legislature changed the  name of adult probation departments to community supervision and correction departments to better describe what those departments do.  In doing so, it referred to probation as community supervision.

 


Q:  Aren’t probation and parole the same thing?

A:  The public often confuses the terms probation (community supervision) and parole.  Although both systems supervise convicted offenders and offer similar sanctions and rehabilitation programs, their functions are quite different.  Offenders on probation serve their sentences in the community.  They are sentenced by local county courts, county-courts-at-law and district judges; Offenders are eligible for parole after they are released from prison.  The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure (Volume 4, Section 509.003, Standards and Procedures) defines parole and community supervision this way:

  •   Community Supervision:  The supervised release of a convicted defendant by a court under a continuum of programs and sanctions with conditions imposed by the court for a specific period during which the imposition of a sentence is suspended:  A) criminal proceedings are deferred without judgement of guilt, or B) a sentence of imprisonment or confinement, imprisonment and a fine, or confinement and a fine, is probated and the imposition of sentence is suspended in whole or in part.
  • Parole:  Parole means the conditional release of an eligible prisoner from the physical custody of the Correctional Institution Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to serve the remainder of the sentence under the supervision and control of the board.

Q:  Can I work in the criminal justice field if I have a criminal record?

A:  To determine the impact your criminal record may have on your ability to get a job in criminal justice, contact the agency with which you are interested in applying.  The agency can advise you on their specific hiring standards.  Generally, considerations include the type of position applied for and the seriousness of the offense committed.

 


Q:  Are employees of the CSCD State or County employees?

A:  While considered State employees for the purposes of liability for official actions, workers’ compensation, and medical/dental insurance participation, CSCD employees are not State employees.  While considered County employees for the purposes of general personnel policies and retirement participation, neither are CSCD employees, County employees.  Employees of the CSCD are employees of local judicial districts and are administered by a Director appointed by the local District Judge(s).

A state agency, the Community Justice Assistance Division (CJAD) of Texas Department of Criminal Justice sets standards for local CSCDs, including certification of officers.  CJAD also administers state funding for the operation of local CSCDs.

By statute, the County provides office space, utilities and some equipment for the CSCD.

 


Q:  How do you become a Probation Officer?

A:  To be eligible for employment as a community supervision officer who supervises offenders, a person:

  • (1) must have a bachelor’s degree conferred by a institution of higher education accredited by an accrediting organization by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board; and
  • (2) unless the bachelor’s degree is in criminal justice, criminology, corrections, counseling, human services development, law, law enforcement, police science, pre-law, public administration, rehabilitative studies, social work, psychology, or sociology, the person must have:  (A) one year of graduate study in one of those fields; or (B) one year of experience in full-time casework, counseling, or community or group work; or (C) other education of experience, document by letter in the employees personnel file, which indicates  that they were the most qualified applicant at the time of hiring.  Such letter shall be signed by the CSCD Director.
  •  (3)  cannot be employed as a peace officer, and cannot be currently on community supervision, parole, or serving a sentence for a criminal offense.

Once the above criteria are meet, officers must be certified.  After a week of intensive training, provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Community Justice Assistance Division, officers must pass an exam to be certified.  While employed as a certified community supervision officer, continuous training is required to maintain certification.

 


Q:   Can Probation Officers make arrests?

A:  Officers may make an arrest of an offender under supervision in special circumstances with the approval of or at the direction of the Judge having jurisdiction of the offender’s case.  As a general rule and according to state standards, Probation Officers do not make arrests, nor do they transport prisoners.

 


Q:  May I report to my officer using email or fax?

A:  No.  The report form that your officer receives from you must have your original signature.  However, you may download report forms from this website to complete and bring with you when you report in person or to mail if you have been instructed to mail reports to your officer.

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Q:  I have been assigned community service hours.  Can I just “buy” them?

A:  No,  but the statutes do allow you to make a donation to a food pantry approved by the CSCD in lieu of doing actual community service. The donation must be approved by the CSCD before it can be made. Check with your supervising probation officer for any other restrictions.

 

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