If I were to receive the SOWK 688 placement, I would like to gain more one-on-one experience with individuals within the criminal justice field. I am primarily interested in working directly with inmates. Jail, prison, juvenile detention center, community corrections, parole, or even probation would be satisfying to me. I would like to learn more about the human psyche. Thus, I would be able to better serve clients who most people are afraid to work with. Understanding these psychological tendencies will enable me to be help my clients. Although these clients are a part of the criminal justice system, there social relationships and well-being are still important. Nonetheless, I know that this task will be a challenge. In the near future I want to learn more about the policies and services provided to inmates within the criminal justice system. By thoroughly understanding these policies and services, I will be able obtain my long term goal of becoming a criminal judge. As a criminal judge I hope to provide offenders with other options. Sentencing an offender to jail time will be my last resort. Many offenders are in the court system because of their addictions to drugs and alcohol. I hope to provide them with low or no cost rehabilitation programs to help turn their lives around. I have seen many offenders who want help, but can’t afford to pay for it. The current free programs have extensive waiting periods, some as long as six months. When you are dealing with an addict, time is of the essence. They may be ready to commit to a program today, but by tomorrow they may have changed their minds. This endless cycle leads to repeat offenders. I hope to partner with business owners, churches, and other organizations to help fund services for these types of victims.
Current Occupational Duties
As a case manager I have set office hours to meet with clients to discuss their concerns, answer questions, and monitor their progress while out on bond.
I discuss the terms and conditions with every client I meet with and make sure that the client understands what he or she can or cannot do while out on bond or while on probation. I can increase the level of supervision if I feel the client needs more one- on- one attention to ensure that he or she will succeed. In situations where I have repeat offenders, I try to show the client what needs to be done or done differently to ensure the client’s success. I handle all cases with confidentiality.
When meeting with my clients I do my best to determine what the client’s basic needs are. I try to address those first. I also work with the client to meet the requirement of the court. I have access to various resources available in regards to treatment of substance abuse, the root cause of many of clients’ troubles. I obtain knowledge regarding community resources and dynamics – for example locating substance abuse monitoring or treatment agencies. I provide my client with options – examining all relevant alternatives. I utilize input from all levels of community systems from supervisors, treatment facilities, the court, and family members. I provide my clients with updated information to these agencies and help my clients choose the best treatment option.
As a probation officer I try to motivate my clients to make the changes needed to complete probation requirements. I prepare assessments like a screening instrument – DVSI to determine a level of risk for each of my clients. As a case manager I maintain my clients’ records according to community corrections standards and regulations. In my current job I would be considered a neutral party because I simply provide the court with the client’s demographic information and criminal history. I complete in-depth background investigations with accurate and the most up- to- date criminal history information available for the client. I provide the court with both the past and present criminal history.
I have worked as a deputy probation officer and now I work as a probation officer for defendants that are released from jail on bond. I work with a very diverse population. I work with the disabled, women, low income, poverty, the GLBT community, people of color, and the elderly. One of my current duties is to work within the jail environment. Practice with these populations gives me hand on experience that I can relay to my clients who are displaying risky behaviors that could lead them to jail.
I work with a highly diverse population within a difficult environment that is full of conflict and aggression which leads to great patience. I have to put my own values aside to work with this group of people. I’m responsible for making decisions and judgment calls that will affect many lives; therefore, attention to detail is important when working in my field of practice.
Although I do my very best to help the clients I work with, there just aren’t enough resources available. I hope to partner with organizations that will help provide free services to clients, who actually want help, who are drug and alcohol dependent.