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Probation officers' decisions affect the legal experiences and case outcomes of a substantial number of defendants and offenders. Probation officers exercise discretion and use subjective judgments and standardized assessment tools in making decisions that influence the dispositions of criminal cases and offenders' progress under community supervision. Probation officers serve the court by providing judges with information, protect the community by enforcing the conditions of probation, and assist offenders to reintegrate into the community by brokering services and other resources. Probation officers make decisions at the pretrial, presentence, and postsentence stages of the criminal justice process.

Pretrial Decisions

At the pretrial level, probation officers evaluate defendants for release on bail or pretrial supervision, which allows them to remain free while their case is pending. The evaluation process focuses ...

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