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What to Do If You Are Assigned an Unreasonable Probation Officer?

Interviewer: What if you get a very difficult probation officer that just seems to impose unreasonable conditions on you?

Lauren Scardella: In that case, I would tell the person to call their lawyer. What we would do is call and try to speak to the probation officer and find out what they see as the problems. A lot of times it’s either a miscommunication or it really is that the probation officer is being relatively reasonable, and the client just doesn’t really understand what it is that they want or they don’t do it in a timely manner. That is often the case: a lot of times clients don’t do things in the timeframe that the probation officer directs them to do it, and then they don’t communicate with the probation officer about the issues they are having with completing the task.

Interviewer: Can somebody try to get their probation officer changed if they truly are being unreasonable with them?

Lauren Scardella: They can. There’s always a supervisor they could try to talk to. If it’s really, truly unreasonable, they could make a motion in court before the judge, and the judge could decide whether or not it’s really unreasonable and whether the probation officer should be switched. For the most part, the problems with probation officers have to do with lack of communication. It is very rare for a probation officer to be so unreasonable that a person needs a new officer.

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