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The Issue of Probation Officer Arming

The Issue of Probation Officer Arming

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The issue of the weapon carried by officers of probation department is very serious. Consideration of this issue is especially important in cases of interaction with inmates on probation. In many cases the firearm keeps the Probation Officers safe from the inmates and even keeps the inmates safe from themselves. That is the thesis of the essay.

Attitude of Justice System toward Inmates on Probation

The US government has a specific attitude toward the probation, doing everything possible to give people a second chance, in case it is really deserved. Statistics confirm this fact. In 1977 in the USA conditionally released about 75% of the convicts. In 1994 this figure dropped to 35% of the convicts. It was done for the construction of the justice system in the conditions of maximal fairness. Following these changes, the justice system has a strict approach to the issue of the conditional discharge. Inmates on probation are watched by probation officers continuously. They try to do everything necessary to ensure that the former prisoner is able to have law-abiding behavior.

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Thus, the approaches of the justice system put the issue of the early conditional release as the basis of seriousness and responsibility.

Criminal Psychopathy as an Argument for Probation Officer Arming

First of all, the complexity of the work with inmates on probation should be investigated from the point of view of psychology, as this science can help to understand the features of criminal thinking and logic of its actions.

Very often, (statistics determine 43% of cases), early conditional discharge of prisoners shows repeated offense. It does not necessarily mean that all of the early conditional discharged people back into the criminal underworld, but a probation officer should have a certain pattern of behavior with their wards. Bartol and Bartol (2012) in their book Criminal Behavior: A Psychological Approach describes very meticulously the problem of psychopathy of the majority of criminals. On the basis of this particular syndrome criminals often cross the line of the law. The most important features of psychopathy are egocentricity, inability to experience, callousness and mendacity. Criminals with this form of psychopathy can resort to cunning, can lie in order to create the belief that they have changed.

Curt claims that people with the syndrome of psychopathy are absolutely incapable to sincere repentance (Bartol & Bartol, 2012). In fact, they pursue their own ideals and achieve their own goals. Committing an offense, these people are not able to appreciate the responsibility. It can be possible becase they are sure, that they will not be punished again.

People, suffering from psychopathy, do not think about the life of others, it may have no value to them. The most important thing for such a man is his life and the achievement of his values. Therefore, he can do everything to save his life. At the sight of a firearm danger signal can appear in brain. It may retard his action or even stop the offense or prevent him from causing harm to himself or the people around him.

Factor of Probation Officer Arming as an Influence on His Composure

A probation officer should maintain his composure, because he works with former criminals, who often behaved insolently. Personal objectivity in profession of probation officers is one of the main traits required to maintain order (Powell, 2013). Conversation is the first weapon that should be used to prevent crime and prevent harm. A probation officer should keep his composure in order to discern the motives of the perpetrator and predict his next action. Considering psychopathy or other signs of psychological distress in the behavior of an inmate on probation, the officer will be able to build the right approach to him. Weapons-carrying can be a factor of officer’s composure. Therefore Probation Officer should be armed.


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Factor of Weapons Carrying as a Preventive Measure for the Armed Criminal

Correctional institutions are taking measures to organize comfort adapting of inmates on probation to the surrounding society. Practice shows that very often conditionally released people try to commit a crime, worsening their lives (Wilkins, 2008). During their adaptation to the people, former offender can stumble at the justice system, or think about the ways of cheating the system. Very often it leads to re-offending and aggression toward law enforcement. During detention, an inmate on probation who violated the conditions of his conditional discharge, can turn a gun in the direction of an officer or even threaten him. Most of these people acquire or wangle weapon illegally after the release. They are ready to use this weapon. In case of emergency the fact that probation officer does not have a weapon may  take negative consequences. A potential criminal having a weapon can feel superior and begin to manipulate an officer trying to control the situation in his favor.

Thus, a probation officer should be armed, as he will be able to keep a critical situation under control and control the progress of the situation. The presence of a firearm may prevent the crime and positively affect the course of the behavior of the attacker.

Example of Practical Necessity of Weapons for Probation Officers

To illuustrate the importance of carrying weapons by probation officers the following example should be considered. Lawrence Jones worked at a poultry plant in Fresno County. Suddenly he opened fire on his colleagues. He was on conditional discharge. He had worked for that company for a long time, managed to join the team and earned credibility. Lawrence Jones brought down 4 colleagues, two of them died as a result of his actions, and the other two were wounded (Wozniacka, 2013).


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Having considered the question of a probation officer arming, the following facts cam be determined. Firstly, many people on the conditional discharge suffer from being psychopaths. The presence of weapons can prevent them from doing harm to themselves or to other people. Secondly, the fact, that arming of a probation officer affects his composure, will help to establish a dialogue. Third, the factor of arming can be a preventive measure for new crimes, as many inmates on probation wangle weapon. These arguments have been confirmed with an example that illustrates that a Probation Officer must be armed to perform his job and duties. The firearm keeps the Probation Officers safe from the inmates and even keeps the inmates safe from themselves, that confirms the thesis of this work.

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