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10 must-read books for probation and parole officers

Gain insight, tips and better ways to do your job and keep yourself safe


To be a good officer, you need street smarts; to be a well-rounded officer, you need book smarts, too.


By C1 Staff

To be a good officer, you need street smarts; to be a well-rounded officer, you need book smarts, too. With that said, here’s a list of 10 must-read books aimed at probation and parole officers. In here, you should find a wealth of information that will help you do your job not only more efficiently and effectively, but also more safely.

1. Civil Liabilities and Other Legal Issues for Probation/Parole Officers and Supervisors by Rolando V. del Carmen

An examination of the legal liabilities that probation/parole officers may be exposed to. Eleven chapters make up this monograph.

2. The Best Ever Book of Probation Officer Jokes: Lots and Lots of Jokes Specially Repurposed for You-Know by Mark Geoffrey Young

“The Best Ever Book of Probation Officer Jokes” is so unoriginal, it’s original. And, if you don’t burst out laughing from at least one probation officer joke in this book, there’s something wrong with you.

3. When Nobody’s Home: The Truth behind Drug & Alcohol Addiction Through the Eyes of a Probation Officer by Michael S. Oden

“When Nobody’s Home” uncovers and reveals the origins of drug dependency through the lives of individuals who have been impacted by drug dependency anywhere from 5 years to 35 years.

4. Probation and Parole: Theory and Practice by Howard Abadinksky

Written by former community corrections professional, this book provides a state-of-the-art view of probation and parole.

5. Officer Survival for Probation and Parole Officers by Scott Kirshner

“Officer Survival for Probation and Parole Officers” offers a comprehensive 451-page resource dealing specifically with officer survival topics.

6. Survival Guide for New Probation Officers by Earlene Festervan

This easy-to-read guide provides the necessary information for anyone interesting in becoming a probation officer or just starting out in the field.

7. Games Criminals Play by Bud Allen and Diana Bosta

A bestseller for over two decades, this fascinating resource exposes how criminals try to control the behavior of correctional personnel and how to recognize, prevent and stop manipulation.

8. Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George Thompson

Listen and speak more effectively, engage people through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language), avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies that allow you to successfully communicate your point of view and take the upper hand in most disputes.

9. Developing the Survival Attitude: A Guide for the New Officer by Phil L. Duran

If you think firearms, impact weapons, chemical deterrents and restraints are the most important officer survival tools, think again! The two most important elements in any crisis situation are attitude and mental preparation.

10. Tactics for Criminal Patrol: Vehicle Stops, Drug Discovery and Officer Survival by Charles Remsberg

This book presents tactics and cues the academy doesn’t possibly have time to teach and gives the reader the benefit of countless years of road patrol experience. The material won’t make you a “super cop,” but it will change the way you use all of your senses to keep you safe and aid in your ability to detect and deter crime.

This article, originally published 5/22/2015, has been updated.