Who will be my probation officer?
After sentencing you will be directed when and where to report for the beginning of your probation supervision. Your officer will be introduced to you in that visit and you will begin an ongoing relationship for successful completion of your sentence. You should understand that the probation officer’s primary goal is to help you succeed. This does not mean the officer’s responsibility is to solve problems for you. It does mean you can depend upon him/her to guide and assist you with the obstacles you may face as you work to get past them. Sometimes this means an offer of advice, sometimes it means seeking sources for success, and, of course, it means enforcing restrictions dictated by the law and/or by the court. It is entirely up to you to cooperate and succeed. Lack of cooperation bears negative consequences. Set up a good, professional relationship with the officer and you will benefit from successful completion of probation supervision. Be honest about your activities, even if you fail on some point. The officer is not out to “get you”; your honesty tells him/her you do, ultimately, want to succeed.
What restrictions can I expect?
All restrictions will be determined and explained during your initial visit but are subject to change depending on your behavior and cooperation during the period of supervision. It is possible the sentencing judge will set some conditions in which case the officer must enforce compliance. Generally restrictions will address travel, family responsibilities, substance abuse, avoidance of behavior or associations that may lead to further illegal activity, financial and employment reporting. You will be restricted by law from ownership, possession and use of firearms and ammunition if your offense was a felony.
Will I have to sign any special forms?
The forms you will be expected to sign will depend upon the type offense for which you have been convicted, behavior expected of you, monthly reports of that behavior and knowledge of the conditions of probation.
Will my travel, job and/or living conditions be subject to supervision restriction?
The simple answer is, yes. Understand that the type and extent of restriction depend upon the crime for which you have been convicted and the history of your behavior. Be sure to discuss this with your probation officer at the very beginning of your supervision. It is also a good idea to review your restrictions as the supervision proceeds. Your behavior while under supervision can result in a change of restrictions.
Must I reside in a half-way house during my probation:
The Court has an option to require residency in a local residential facility or “half-way house”. This is not frequently required. It can be a condition of probation decided at the time of sentencing. It is also a possibility in the case of violation of probation when the court determines freedom needs to be restricted for the probationer to succeed but does not judge the violation requires imprisonment. In the Middle District of Louisiana this facility is The Ecumenical Community Treatment Center, 6749 Cezanne Ave, Baton Rouge, LA. Telephone (225) 924-5757 or (225) 924-5787 or Toll Free 1-866-924-5787. Most residents at this facility are inmates in their last few months of incarceration by the Bureau of Prisons. Both prisoners and probationers are allowed certain freedom to prepare for eventual reintegration into the community. They are allowed and expected to obtain employment and reestablish family and legitimate community ties. They are supervised in these pursuits and must abide by the residential rules of the center. Probationers residing at The Ecumenical Center must also report regularly to the supervising probation officer.