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GadgetQueen8 karma

Not sure which movie you're referencing, but if you have Netflix and search Everest, there are a few movies and documentaries. I've watched all of them and every single one definately gives the Sherpas proper respect. They make it very clear that they couldn't do 1/100th of what they do without them.

GadgetQueen6 karma

Fellow PO here. I had a case that haunts me to this day. He was a 17 year old kid who was a genius. Senior in high school, had a full 4 year scholarship to MIT waiting for him after graduation. The kid was in some advanced physics class and for a homework assignment, he built a working tiny, model size rocket from scratch. For the fuel, he bought a bunch of fireworks, took out the powder, ground it up somehow, mixed it with a few things, and put his concoction into the rocket engine. Clearly, explaining science is not my expertise. In any case, he went out into the middle of a field, nothing for about 30 miles around him but open grassland, turned on a video camera, and tested his rocket for his science homework. It worked and took off all beautifully and stuff.

However, a police officer was patrolling nearby and saw the small explosion caused by the rocket as it took off. He drove over and detained the kid for possession of the "explosives", which is a felony, which is a very big deal for a 17 year old and has the propensity to ruin his life and his future career, ability to work, etc.

Long story short, he had a crap attorney and he was convicted. Thankfully, he did not get locked up, but just received probation among other things. But his mother, father, teachers, school counselors, pastors...basically everyone and their dog that were involved with this kid were absolutely outraged.

And, yes, you guessed it. With the felony conviction, he lost his MIT scholarship.

Stuff like that pisses me off. And it haunts me. This kid was out creating, learning, trying to get himself somewhere in life. And over a stupid rocket he built from scratch, they took it all away from him in a heart beat. Very sad. Still haunts me. And I wasn't even in the courtroom to hear the case...I saw the reaction of the kid and family as they left the court and stopped to try to calm the situation down.

GadgetQueen2 karma

Indeed, mental health issues are like 50% of the problem right off the bat.

My county hired a foundation to come in a study us, study what works and what doesn't work. Their number one result: lack of mental health care services and assistance.

So we've implemented a whole slew of mental health stuff. I am not sure if I agree with it or not yet, still too early to tell. Yes, they need mental health services, no doubt. But what I am finding is that the folks that are in my program and get the "mentally ill" designation are now getting away with stuff they shouldn't. They're having concessions made for them that shouldn't be made. I'm not sure what's worse - not having the services or giving them an excuse to provide when they mess up (i.e. "Oh, well I'm crazy and I didn't know what I was doing.")? Right now, I'm siding with the we need to give them mental health services because nothing will or can change for them until they get the services, but I have yet to settle on how I really feel.

Our program gives them individual counseling, family counseling, a weekly visit with a psychiatrist, free medication, and I see them 3-5 times a week for individual probation related visits as I don't do the counseling. It works because their therapists, psychiatrist, and I work together as a team. We all are on the same page, meet weekly about each case, and we all know exactly what they are capable of or not. When we decide on an intervention, the probationer hears it from all three of us. It's actually a pretty cool program that was grant funded. I'm not sure how successful it will be yet, but I am in my niche. I am pretty happy and the clients are getting services. You can't beat that, really. Especially from the government.

GadgetQueen2 karma

Try contacting the Annie E. Casey Foundation. They don't pay people per say..they are more of a knowledgeable agency...but they may be able to direct you to some people in your area that would be able to assist you.

What state are you in? You don't have to give your location, but what general area of that state?

GadgetQueen2 karma

Fellow probation officer, here. Kudos man, your answers are well thought out. I've thought about doing an AMA myself, but you beat me to it :)

For all the folks that want to go into this profession, do your research and make sure that it is REALLY what you want to do. If its the job for you, then its a whirlwind of people, court, field visits, etc. But keep in mind, it's a very difficult job with very little reward. When you do see positive change, its awesome, but positive change is rare and/or often faked.

You're trying to help rehabilitate people, many of which don't want help, and teach them how to live their life legally. At the same time, you're following the orders of a judge who doesn't always understand what an individual is struggling with and what it will take to overcome those struggles. On top of that, the criminal justice system is large, favors the rich, is often unfair, and does not often take the little guy into account.

Working in criminal justice is tough stuff. Very long hours. Low pay as you are technically a "public servant" and the salaries rank right up there with teachers. And don't forget the dangerous working conditions as you enter neighborhoods and houses that most sane people wouldn't even know existed. It is not a career for the faint of heart. Nor is it the right career for folks on a power trip. OP is correct when he says that a good probation officer has a mix of social work and criminal justice.

OP, my question is what is your least favorite thing about the job? For me, its two fold. I worry about contagious diseases with all the people interactions I do (i.e. TB, scabies, etc.) And secondly, the drug testing. I didn't go into nursing on purpose. I do not particularly want to be anywhere NEAR these people's bodily fluids...yet...that's part of the job. How about you?