Probation Officers Lauded as True Champions

Photo: Glenis Rose Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr. (centre), inspects a guard of honour formed by newly commissioned correctional officers during a recent ceremony, in St. Ann.

Story Highlights

  • Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr., is lauding the work being done by probation aftercare officers across Jamaica, hailing them as true champions.
  • “They are investigators, counsellors, conveners, providers, supporters, mothers, fathers and role models to several individuals across Jamaica that they interact with. They are doing a lot with a little. We appreciate and really do consider their work as being integral to the national security strategy,” the State Minister adds.
  • The State Minister tells JIS News that the job as a probation aftercare officer remains very attractive among the nation’s workforce and that very soon the overall numbers will be increased.

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles, Jr., is lauding the work being done by probation aftercare officers across Jamaica, hailing them as true champions.

Speaking with JIS News, Senator Charles Jr. says members of the profession have proven themselves to be true champions, serving in various capacities in the interest of national security.

“They are investigators, counsellors, conveners, providers, supporters, mothers, fathers and role models to several individuals across Jamaica that they interact with. They are doing a lot with a little. We appreciate and really do consider their work as being integral to the national security strategy,” the State Minister adds.

Senator Charles says the officers are “the foot soldiers in this war, this battle that is out there. They are the first to take the impact and the first to interact with the community members”.

He says the Government is aware of the challenges that face them, and points out that the recent reclassification of probation aftercare officers is a start to address some of the challenges.

“We are going to continue to work assiduously to ensure that our probation officers are acknowledged and that they are supported. The reclassification will offer more avenues for promotion, and we are going to continue to take steps forward to ensure that we can address their issues,” Senator Charles notes.

The State Minister tells JIS News that the job as a probation aftercare officer remains very attractive among the nation’s workforce and that very soon the overall numbers will be increased.

“I believe that any youngster who wants to serve this country must see this profession as essential and an option for them to think about giving their service to this nation. We are here to build Jamaica for our future and so to all the youngsters out there, I say to you, get yourself qualified and come and join us,” he urges.

“Right now, we have 35 new probation officers and we will need more in the future. It is attractive and should continue to be an attractive occupation,” the State Minister adds.

Meanwhile, Janet Davey, Director of the Probation Aftercare Services in the Ministry of National Security, tells JIS News that the 103 probation officers have been going beyond the call of duty in meeting the needs of the 3,600 persons in their charge.

“They have to be rehabilitating persons who are given community-based sentences across the island. We have a client population of approximately 3,600 persons and we have to supervise them for periods extending from 12 months to 36 months. We also have to serve the courts,” Ms. Davey adds.

She says the Government has been moving to address some of the challenges that probation aftercare officers are now facing, with a renewed focus on training at all levels.

Ms. Davey notes that the recent reclassification of probation aftercare officers has resulted in the addition of another level to the department, which allows for officers to be promoted.

“At one stage, we had a challenge in terms of persons moving up, so it makes it a little easier for persons to be promoted,” she adds.

Ms. Davey says the profession of Probation Aftercare Officer remains very attractive to young Jamaicans, and efforts are being made to promote the career, especially at the high-school level.

“Persons who are trained in social work, I think this is one area that is very good for them. The work that we do is very instrumental in getting persons to stop their offending behaviours,” she tells JIS News.

Probation aftercare officers serve under the Ministry of National Security, through the Department of Correctional Services.

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