Part I

There I sat anxiously waiting in the probation office for my turn, only to be blindsided by hearing someone mumble out – um yeah, your probation officer got switched. You no longer have Officer (we’ll just leave their name blank), your new officer is…

Yup, not only did I get switched, but you could also say I now inherited what you would call “The Probation Officer from Hell”, with my appointment amounting to a full-on drive by ass raping. Moments thereafter, I was nauseous, and felt my head spinning as I staggered out of the office disheveled, feeling like I’d just been physically assaulted. What the hell just happened? Could they really do this to me? Better yet, what are my rights and what should I do?

Can you switch Probation Officers?

The short answer is yes, it is possible, however, one must also understand that this is not so easily accomplished, as the courts openly trust and recognize the Probation Officer as their eyes and ears, and do not normally re-assign an officer based off of an individual’s preference. It is only under documented instances where detrimental conduct or egregious behavior has been committed by the officer, when re-assignment may be possible.

What reasons would allow someone to switch Probation Officers?

Probation Officers are expected to act appropriately in accordance with the law, as well as behave in an ethical manner in order to avoid compromising the integrity of the community supervision system at large.

For a switch to occur, there would have to be grounds for such an action being deemed necessary in order to avoid such from happening. Discrimination, harassment, conflict of interest, and violation of civil rights are all possible scenarios stemming as a result from an officer’s conduct coming into question.

Bear in mind, there would be a thorough investigation looking into any complaint brought towards an officer, but further complicating matters are the court systems being jammed and backlogged with complaints of alleged wrongdoing, mistreatment, and discrimination, where in actuality the officer was only following their job duties in monitoring a Probationer.

It is due to this ongoing challenge that the courts can find themselves a bit leery of any claim made, however, every complaint must still be followed up and investigated thoroughly. It is important to understand why you were switched over in the first place.

Why did my Probation Officer get switched out? How often does this happen?

There are many reasons why a Probation Officer gets switched out, as it is done for a variety of reasons: officers get dismissed and/or leave, they get promoted, reassigned, or oftentimes, it is done to balance out the caseloads.

It actually happens all the time and is very common, however, for the Probationer, it can be an extremely stressful and frustrating process to start anew when you have built up a rapport with a certain officer.

What are your rights and what can you do when your Probation Officer gets switched out?

First and foremost, do not panic and stay calm. It is only natural to feel a sense of anger or frustration when something is forced upon you and is out of your control, but you must detach yourself from getting overly emotional in order to truly evaluate your respective situation.


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Think and say to yourself, is this officer placed by the courts to monitor my actions out to get me? or are they just following their job description? Oftentimes, we tend to feel like everyone, and everything is conspiring against us when that is not really the truth.

Remember, your Probation Officer is not your friend, and it does not matter how good of a rapport you have and/or had with them, whether they are your current officer, or the previous one. They are there to do the job of ensuring you comply with the conditions of your supervision and to hold you accountable when you transgress.

(You should read this other article of mine that will definitely help you out on this matter titled HOW TO MAKE YOUR PROBATION OFFICER REALLY LIKE YOU).

Another point you must realize is that you do yourself no favors when you are carrying an indifferent attitude towards them and are resistant to anything they suggest. The worst possible thing you can do for a Probation Officer is to be high maintenance or create more work for them.

Finally, when you do feel like something particularly off is occurring, and feel you have no other choice, it may be time to follow up on how you are feeling. That said, you do have the right to be treated with dignity and respect and do have rights.

You can request to meet with your officer’s supervisor or manager, and bring any matter concerning you to their attention, as many probation offices have a formal complaint process in place.

Many times, you just need to speak to someone else to find out the conflict has more to do with misunderstanding your PO’s role and what their job is. At the very least, it will create a paper trail of evidence that you are having this issue with a Probation Officer prior to things escalating.

Sometimes it becomes evident that there would be a mutual benefit to have you switched to a new Probation Officer, other times it may be a painstaking process having to go through the court system, but ultimately, you cannot force them to give you a new one.

Establishing a new relationship is always challenging, and one involving your Probation Officer is no exception. It’s incredibly frustrating when you have to start over from scratch with a new officer, especially one who doesn’t seem to be as diplomatic as your previous.

Worry, stress, anxiety, all the way to even feelings of terror are something one could possibly experience when dealing with this situation.

I myself had my own experiences going through a switch out and can share a little bit of it in my other post titled CAN YOU SWITCH PROBATION OFFICERS? Part II- PLUS you will want to read it for my “Probation Officer Hack”, so you could say adios to them once and for all.

The Educated Felon