In his Sunday Sermon, Gadfly noted that law-abiding citizens, witnesses, and victims are the clients of police agencies. But who are the clients of probation and parole agencies?
Master of Social Work (MSW) graduates have been taught that a probation officer’s clients are probationers and a parole officer’s clients are parolees. MSWs have also been taught that it is the duty of probation and parole officers to serve their clients.
I strongly agree that it is the duty of probation and parole officers to serve their clients. But that is because their clients are not the probationers and parolees they supervise. The real clients of probation and parole officers are the law-abiding citizens living within and near areas frequented by probationers and parolees. Just as with the police, probation and parole agencies exist to serve and protect the public.
Unfortunately, because of what they have been taught at Schools of Social Work, some probation and parole officers have failed badly in serving the law-abiding public. One particular case comes to mind when I was a parole agent working out of the Riverside office.
It was brought to my attention by the Riverside County sheriff’s captain in charge of the Indio station that one of our parole agents had helped one of his parolees to conceal being wounded during an attempted robbery. When the agent made a home visit, he found that his parolee was lying in bed suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso. The parolee admitted that he had been shot while attempting to rob a liquor store. He managed to get away but was afraid to seek medical treatment because he knew that a doctor or hospital was required by law to report all gunshot wounds to the police.
So what did the parole agent do? Instead of arresting the parolee and notifying the cops, he drove the parolee down to San Ysidro where they crossed the border into Mexico. Then he took the parolee to a doctor in Tijuana to be treated for his wound. And then he drove the parolee back to his home and simply dropped him off. I suspect that during their ride back to Indio, he counseled his parolee not to do any more robberies.
Now I know that this is an extreme example, but I have heard of a number of other instances in which parole agents covered up crimes committed by parolees in their case loads.
On the first day of their employment as probation or parole officers, it should be mandatory to hammer into the heads of the newbies who their real clients are and that their first and foremost duty is to serve and protect the public.