The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System carries out probation and pretrial services functions in the U.S. district courts. Through its officers and other employees, the system works to make the criminal justice process effective and the public safe. The system's mission reflects its dedication to serve the community, the courts, and the people who come before the courts. Our Mission
- To assist the federal courts in the fair administration of justice.
- To protect the community.
- To bring about long-term positive change in individuals under supervision.
- The system's Charter for Excellence (pdf) states the shared professional identity, goals, and values of probation and pretrial services officers.
Who We Are
The U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services System is
- the community corrections arm of the federal judiciary.
- part of the U.S. District Courts.
- a key player in the federal criminal justice process at both the pretrial and post-conviction stages.
- a national system of employees, who include probation and pretrial services officers and officer assistants; information technology, budget, and human resources professionals; and support staff.
- a national system with a shared mission, professional identity, goals, and values.
What We Do
U.S. probation and pretrial services officers, considered the "eyes and ears" of the federal courts, investigate and supervise persons charged with or convicted of federal crimes. Officers
- gather and verify information about persons who come before the courts.
- prepare reports that the courts rely on to make release and sentencing decisions.
- supervise persons released to the community by the courts and paroling authorities.
- direct persons under supervision to services to help them stay on the right side of the law, including substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, medical care, training, and employment assistance.
Criminal Case Process
It can be a often be overwhelming and confusing when you are going through the processes of prosecution, and the supervision process following sentencing or prison time. The uscourts.gov website provides a link referenced here that gives you very detailed and helpful information on what you can expect to experience during the Criminal Case Process in the Federal Courts as you are served by our Office.
Your probation officer is responsible for conducting presentence investigations, and for supervising all persons conditionally released to the community, whether before sentencing, or after release from custody. As a part of that responsibility, they will make sure you are aware of your conditions of release and hold you accountable for all of them. They will make home and community visits with you on a regular basis and may require you to visit them at their office. They may also contact family members and/or employers. They may restrict your travel for a period of time, and may want you to provide certain documents to verify your employment, financial status, and residence. They may also refer you to other agencies who will assist you with various issues in your life, and will communicate with these agencies on a regular basis.
The most important thing to know is what is expected of you to succeed, and the most important thing to do is communicate openly and honestly with your probation and pretrial services officer. The officer's greatest responsibility is protection of the public. That means we will assist you in acquiring assistance and resources, but we will also monitor your condition and activities to ensure that you are in compliance with the Court's order or expectations, while treating you with respect and dignity as outlined in our Role and Authority of the Officer document.
If you are charged and/or facing prosecution, then you are in the Pretrial and Presentence processes. During this time, it is very important that you report as directed, and provide all the information requested of you. This is also an important time to rely on family and friends for support and assistance.
If you have been placed on probation, or you are being released to supervision from prison, then you will be under community supervision and it will be extremely important for you to get started off right with your new probation officer. Be sure to share all that is going on with you, and to ask all the questions you need in order to become familiar with the expectations of you, and you of your officer and the Court. Our goal is to make sure you are stable in the community, employed, in compliance, and have access to all the information and resources needed for you to succeed. That means you will need to be very open and honest with your officer, and to do whatever it takes to re-establish relationships, receive whatever treatment and guidance may be needed, be stable and productive in the community, make a positive difference in the lives of others around you, and stay in compliance with your Court Order.