Parole and Probation - Portland Criminal Justice (2024)

Parole refers to release from prison prior to the end of a scheduled sentence. In addition, those sentenced to prison time will often face a mandatory period of post prison supervision upon release

Probation is essentially supervision. It is an alternative to jail or prison time for misdemeanors and/or low-level felonies. Instead of being incarcerated, those on probation will be monitored by a probation officer.

Multnomah County Probation Offices

Multnomah County Probation – Mead Building
421 SW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97204

Gresham Probation Office
495 NE Beech Ave, Gresham, OR 97030

Mid-County Office
1415-B SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233

Conditions of Probation

At a minimum, Oregon probation requires the following:

  • Do not leave the state of Oregon without permission from your probation officer
  • Do not commit further crimes
  • Pay supervision costs and other fines and fees as directed by the court
  • Do not act as a confidential informant
  • Report all police contact to your probation officer within 24 hours
  • Do not use controlled substances unless you have a prescription
  • Submit to breath or urine testing for controlled substances when required
  • Inform your probation officer of any changes in address or contact information
  • Participate in a substance abuse evaluation when required
  • If convicted for a sex offense, participate in a sex offender treatment program
  • Participate in a mental health evaluation when required
  • Promptly and truthfully answer all inquiries from your probation officer
  • Permit probation officers to visit your residence or worksite and consent to a search of the premises when required
  • Do not possess firearms, dangerous weapons, or dangerous animals.
  • Oregon probation also frequently requires an alcohol restriction:
    No alcohol, no bars or taverns where alcohol is served as the primary business.

The full conditions of Oregon probation and parole can be found here:


One of the first things that will happen when you are put on parole or probation is that a parole or probation officer (PO) will pay you a visit. This person may or may not be your future PO. They will do a search of your home for guns and other illegal substances. While you are on parole or probation, you are not allowed to own guns or dangerous weapons. In addition, some parole/probation conditions will prevent you from drinking alcohol. Many people find this to be one of the most severe conditions – if you have a no alcohol restriction, you are not even allowed to go into bars or other businesses that serve alcohol as their primary source of business. If you do and you are caught, you will be arrested.

Before your PO pays you a visit, it is essential to keep your house clean, thereby minimizing the time that they spend there. A dirty house will give a bad impression and it might even lead officers to suspect you are trying to hide something. They may stay for a longer time than they normally would. If you have guns or dangerous weapons, you need to get rid of them while you are on probation.

If you have a no alcohol condition attached to your parole/probation, you will also need to get rid of any alcohol, including even mundane items like alcoholic mouthwash. If your PO shows up and you have alcohol lying around, you could be considered in violation of your probation and arrested. If you are lucky, your PO will personally watch you pour all your alcohol down the drain.

Sometimes, you will be allowed alcohol “not to excess.” If this is case, you are allowed to enter bars and taverns and have a drink or two at home. However, if you are found drunk by the police, you could be arrested for a probation violation.

Once probation has visited you at your residence, they will do an evaluation of your friends, family, job, and outlook in your life. If you do not have a job, you will be expected to find one. Likewise, you may be directed towards or away from certain situations. If some of your friends are doing drugs or running around shoplifting, you will be expected to end those associations. You will be directed towards people who can have a positive impact in your life and help you become a citizen with a meaningful impact on others and on yourself.

After you have completed the home visit, probation will contact you and inform you what you need to do next. If you do not hear from probation over some time, you should contact them and ask if there is anything you need to do next. If you are on supervised probation, you will need to periodically visit a probation office at one of the Multnomah County Probation offices.

Supervised Probation

If you are on supervised probation, you will need to visit your PO from time to time, usually about once a month. However, the factors depend on your case and your outlook. If you are being intensive supervised, you may be required to show up weekly. In addition, if you fail to show up for a scheduled meeting with a probation officer, they will likely come looking for you.

During the supervised phase of probation, your PO can show up at your residence unannounced in order to check on you. Although the circ*mstances depend on your individual case, it could happen any time probation suspects you of violating your terms, or even if they feel that you would benefit from an increased presence. In some intensive cases, probation may show up weekly on random, unannounced visits. You may be subject to cursory searches for drugs, or of your phone and computer, especially if the crime had something to do with those things. You may also face random and unannounced drug testing if you were convicted of a drug-related crime.

Reduced Supervision

If you have been compliant for some time on supervised probation, you may be placed on reduced supervision. While you are on reduced supervision, you will not be required to regularly visit your PO. However, you will still be expected to abide by all the terms and conditions of probation until your probation ends or is terminated by an agreement with the DA and/or judge. While you are on reduced supervision, your main obligation is fill out a monthly form detailing the current status of your employment, relationship(s), address, contact information, and any other relevant information requested by probation. As long as you continue abide by the probation terms and conditions, your life will often be considerably easier on reduced supervision than on supervised probation.

Probation Violations

If you break any of the conditions of your probation and are caught, you will have committed a probation violation. Probation violations can range from committing new crimes to seemingly mundane things like failing to show up for a scheduled meeting or being caught with alcohol.

If you are caught violating probation by the police, you will be summarily arrested and taken to jail. If you are arrested for a probation violation, there will be no bail for you and you will have to wait in jail until your PO comes and gets you out or until you are able to appear before a judge.

If your probation officer determines you are violating probation, a couple things can happen. Your PO may put out a warrant for your arrest. As this has to be approved by a judge, it will take anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days. When it does, you will be required to turn yourself into jail (TSI – Turn Self In) or be arrested. Once you are arrested for a probation violation, there will be a hearing to determine whether you violated probation and what the punishment should be if you did. There is no bail and no way of getting out of jail when you are arrested for a probation violation.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you will not face a warrant but will find yourself facing more difficult probation. Any privileges you earned or filed for may be revoked. If you are on unsupervised probation, you may be put back on supervised probation. You may be subject to random searches or drug tests. You could also be required to wear a GPS monitor and face house arrest, or be required to do community service. You could face fines or an extension of the probation. In general, if you violate probation, you will find the rules becoming tighter and tighter…until you are eventually sent to jail or prison.

If you are arrested for a probation violation and face a court appearance, you could potentially face jail or prison time. Unlike criminal trials, where there is a jury trial to determine your innocence or guilt, your fate will rest exclusively in the hands of a judge. Moreover, there need not be the same standard of evidence of guilt as in an actual criminal trial. If the judge determines that you did violate probation, you will be sentenced. Sentences for probation violation can include jail or even prison terms depending on what your PO calls for and what your violation was.

Parole and Probation - Portland Criminal Justice (2024)


What is considered the biggest challenge for probation and parole officers? ›

The successful and continued employment of parolees is one of the major concerns of parole boards and their officers to prevent a repeat offense. Consequently, a requirement that a parolee must find employment within 30 days is standard.

How to ace a probation officer interview? ›

What to look for in an answer:
  1. Ability to handle tense situations.
  2. Leadership skills.
  3. Calm and collected demeanor.

What is the most difficult part about being a probation officer? ›

Probation officers monitor offenders who have been placed under court supervision as an alternative to incarceration. To accomplish their goals, probation officers must cope with complex paperwork demands, large caseloads and shrinking budgets that leave no room for error in dealing with clients.

What makes an offender an ideal candidate for probation? ›

The easy answer to who should be placed on probation is that most non-violent offenders are good candidates for probation. However, there are no easy answers. Many jurisdictions have a variety of offenders on probation (e.g., property offenders, domestic abusers, felony offenders, and misdemeanor offenders).

What is the most common reason for parole failure? ›

Unfortunately, if conditions are not abided by, a parolee may end up back in prison fulfilling the remainder of their time. Some of the most common parole violations include: Failure to report to an assigned probation officer. Failure to report moving or leaving the geographic area without permission.

Which type of probation violation is the most common? ›

Some of the most common probation violations include the following:
  • Failure to cover the court fines. ...
  • Failure to report to the court or the probation officer. ...
  • Positive drug and alcohol tests. ...
  • Restraining order violation. ...
  • Committing another crime during probation.

How do you nail a police interview? ›

8 Interview tips for police jobs
  1. Know the keywords. ...
  2. Make a mental list of your skills and experience. ...
  3. Review common interview questions. ...
  4. Elaborate on your answers. ...
  5. Have a positive approach. ...
  6. Anticipate the participants. ...
  7. Plan to avoid failure. ...
  8. Prepare to discuss your future.
Feb 13, 2024

What kind of personality do you need to be a probation officer? ›

Experienced officers identified five core skills and qualities for probation officers: Interpersonal skills (for work with both clients and colleagues), literacy, persuasiveness, resilience, and a sensitivity to human behavior and its social context.

What does a probation interview consist of? ›

Typically at the initial meeting, the probation officer will conduct an interview with the defendant to gather the follow information: family history. community ties. education background.

Do probation officers want you to succeed? ›

Remember, your probation officer wants to help you succeed. That's their job. Check in regularly. You need to keep in touch with your probation officer.

Which parolees are more likely to fail on parole? ›

Parolees committed for violent and sex offenses, overall, had lower risks for most violations than those offenders committed for property and drug crimes. However, those who had been committed for violent offenses did show elevated risk for violent criminal violations and serious sexual violations.

How to pass a probation officer interview? ›

The goal for a successful interview for a Probation Officer is to assess the candidate's ability to analyze complex situations, demonstrate empathy and sensitivity towards offenders, exhibit excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and show a deep understanding of criminal justice, and corrections systems.

Which offender is most likely to be on probation? ›

Final answer: An offender is most likely to be given probation for a less serious crime like petty theft, not serious offenses like homicide, kidnapping, or arson.

What is the single most frequently encountered problem across probation and parole populations? ›

Nearly half of the community corrections population has a substance use disorder, and rates of substance use, misuse, and dependence are two to three times higher for people on probation and parole than for the general population.

What is one problem for probation officers is their heavy caseload? ›

If the caseload is too heavy, the officer might not be able to give sufficient attention to each case, which could potentially affect the outcomes of the probation process.

What are some the difficulties of being successful on parole? ›

Once released, formerly incarcerated people face a myriad of barriers to successfully re-entering society. They are not allowed to vote, have little access to education, face scant job opportunities, and are ineligible for public benefits, public housing and student loans.

What conflicts a probation officer faces every day? ›

A probation officer faces role conflict every day. This conflict focuses around: the responsibilities of enforcing the law and helping the offender simultaneously.

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