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What to Expect

What Supervision Is

In the federal courts, supervision is

  • a core responsibility of U.S. probation and pretrial services officers, along with investigation.
  • a way to monitor the activities and behavior of people released to the community by the federal courts or paroling authorities.
  • an opportunity to help offenders reintegrate into the community following a period of incarceration.
  • in the case of probation, a punishment that is less severe than imprisonment, but still holds people accountable for breaking the law.
  • an alternative to jail or prison that costs less than incarceration and gives people charged with or convicted of federal crimes the opportunity to live with their families, hold jobs, and be productive members of society.

What It Accomplishes

Supervision addresses several key criminal justice goals. Through supervision, officers: 

  • Enforce the court's order. Officers make sure people on supervision comply with the conditions the court has set for their release to the community.
  • Protect the community. Officers reduce the risk that people on supervision commit crimes. They also reduce the risk that people who are awaiting trial flee rather than return to court as required.
  • Provide treatment and assistance. Officers help people on supervision correct problems that may be linked to their criminal behavior by directing them to services to help them. These services may include substance abuse or mental health treatment, medical care, training, or employment assistance.

How Officers Supervise

In working with people on supervision, officers

  • inform them of what the court expects of them.
  • meet with them at home and at work.
  • monitor their compliance with the conditions the court has set for their release.
  • step in to control and correct if they don't comply.

Release Conditions

Release conditions are rules set by the court that people on supervision must follow if they want to remain in the community. The court imposes release conditions to help structure the person's actions and activities. For example, release conditions may: 

  • prohibit possession of guns or other weapons.
  • prohibit contact with victims or witnesses.
  • restrict association with certain persons.
  • restrict travel.
  • impose a curfew

It is very important that you help the ex-offender understand the importance of being open, honest, and cooperative with the Probation Office so we can succeed in guiding them toward success, function as a strong voice and advocate for them, keep the Court informed as to how well they are doing, and put us in a good position to provide the best information and assistance.  We intend to be a resource and asset to them, and a positive, open communication is vital for this to happen.