The basics

The probation service is not like dealing with the police or the prison service, where they act on a “one size fits all” basis. The probation service is much more approachable and they tailor the services they will offer you to better meet your needs.

That is not to say that the probation service, or your case manager, is an easy touch. Remember that they have the authority to recommend that you are returned to custody or can send you back to court for a revision of your sentence!

Going to the probation office is rather like going to the doctors. You tell the receptionists your name and who your appointment with, take a chair and your case manager will call you into a meeting. The meeting will probably take place in a small room and can last anything from 15 mins upwards. The case manager will ask you various questions to see if you have any problems they can help you with and to check that you have been complying with the terms of your license.

At your first meeting with the probation officer they will explain in detail to you what they require you to do, or not to do. These requirements are very important, and if you don’t understand them, or are uncertain as to what they mean, make sure you ask. Remember if you don’t stick to their rules and requirements they can say that you are “in breach” of your license with the risk of being returned to prison or sent back to court.

The probation service has a host of courses and programs to help you, and will have “drop in” sessions where you can speak with other people in the same situation as you, or where you can meet with organisations who can help you find work etc. The details of these can be found on the specific trust pages.

Whilst you are on probation you will be subject to various licence conditions and you must comply with these. You will not be allowed to leave the UK, except in exceptional circumstances which require the prior approval of your probation officer

How Probation Works