Report Writing for Probation Officers

Report Writing for Probation Officers
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded on: 2019-01-08
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Report Writing for Probation Officers
Unit 2 Recording: Report Writing for Probation Officers
Unit 3 Workbook: Report Writing for Probation Officers

When a person decides to be a part of the world of criminal justice, they are generally drawn in by the authority, having the means to protect the people they love, the prestige of the profession, the ability to straighten out people who’ve gone astray, the opportunity to be a superhero, or even the guns. Report writing is rarely the part of the job that puts it on the spotlight or makes it appealing.

David Rogers is this session’s guest resource and he’ll dissect the basics of report writing. David notes that while no one said that they want to grow up to write reports for the entirety of their lives, the truth is that probation officers are engaged in report writing for a significant chunk of their workdays.

David is the CEO and Chief Instructor of Tribal Public Safety Innovation (TPSI) with 44 years’ worth of experience in the criminal justice field serving in various roles including patrol, probation, and training.

Some of the areas he covered on this course include:

  • The simple beginnings of report writing and its development to the comprehensive document that it is currently.
  • An overview of the components that justice professionals must include in their reports that highlight the breadth of probation’s reports.
  • The challenges that POs encounter in report writing due to disparate data sources, inadequate training, varied reporting standards and format, and ineffective report writing practices.
  • The probation officer’s role as a chronicler of facts and representative of their agency, court, clients/probationers, victims, treatment providers, and law enforcement.
  • The legal duties of a PO and how maintaining adequate records and effective report writing can help accomplish these responsibilities.
  • How report writing can impact the probationer’s life stressing the key role of PO’s reports.
  • Writing reports for the potential audience which includes the attorneys, judges and even the media.
  • The importance of writing reports soon as humanly possible to ensure the accuracy of details and to avoid procrastination.
  • Ways to improve one’s writing skills and the Do’s and Don’ts of report writing that enumerates points to remember and common practices/errors to avoid moving forward.
  • A list of the most common reports that probation officers must accomplish, the components that must be included, and best practices for each type.
    • A look into chronological entries, its purpose, and key elements.
      • The importance of treating chronos as public records and not a personal journal that must only contain facts and not speculations, opinions, or non-objective anecdotes.
      • Getting into the habit of logging timely chronos.
    • A drill down of the components of Presentence Investigations.
  • Some of the questions raised by the audience concern:
    • Setting standards and templates for report writing.
    • The debate between treatment versus incarceration.
    • An app that can help in report writing,
    • The components and importance of chronological reports (chronos).
    • Dealing with hearsay information.
    • The computation of sentence and probation time.
    • The use of social media information/leads in reports.
Additional Resources
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After the Webinar: Report Writing for Probation Officers. Q&A with David Rogers
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Thoughts on Probation from David Rogers
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