For Kurt Niemann, his being a Probation Officer would surprise his childhood teachers and counselors as he was not an easy subject to handle then. But fate has its way of turning things around.
The number of individuals reentering communities from prison, jail, and community supervision across the United States is vast. Due to its size, a restricted number of programs are used regularly. Niemann, in his book, will bring readers into the new world of probation.
Generally, the probation service has struggled to survive in a highly ambivalent social and political climate for the past two decades. During this period, the service has adopted a more punishment-focused, coercive, and managerial stance in its work with offenders, and the training of probation officers has separated from social work training, and
Inside Badge 411
Badge 411 by Niemann contains eighty-two vignettes relating to the author’s experiences as a rookie. It also shares Kurt’s experiences dealing primarily with gangs and drugs as a member for twelve years of an Inner-City Unit, then with a Unit dealing with “Incorrigible” juveniles as “Dysfunctional,” often violent, families. Finally, his being the designer and Coordinator of the State’s first Academy for Juvenile Detention Officers was also disclosed in his book.
On the other hand, Badge 411 also conveyed the professional identity of the generation of probation officers who are now entering the service by examining their motives and practices. Despite pressure to eradicate the welfare-oriented ethos of the service, a significant and unexpected discovery arising from today’s genre has been the resilience of traditional values that are brought to the service in the aspirations and habits of newcomers.
Success, Desistance, and Relationships Between Probationers and Probation Officers
The average citizen gives little thought that the transition from prison to the community is a significant life change. The influence of reentering a community that may hold those who encouraged or contributed to the client’s criminal behavior is still active and present in the client’s system. The criminal justice system has set goals for the offender to complete while forgoing prison time on probation or parole. These goals can include cognitive-behavioral classes, drug assessment and treatment, anger management, and drug screening.
Badge 411 takes its readers into realizing that the probationer’s status as an involuntary client does not necessarily seek out the services, help, and support provided to them and can revolt against any attempts to engage. With Kurt’s retelling of his experiences, one can say that the bridge between a convicted individual and the community falls then to probation. And that while working towards recovery by assisting with problems that may originate with the criminal behavior, the community correction officers (probation officers) help implement the court order.
Niemann also implied in his book that when a convicted offender is released on probation, the officers have to help set up educational programs, counseling appointments, employment opportunities, and housing. A probation officer has to make sure an offender attends any counseling, job training, and work to get them involved in social activities needed with their rehabilitation.
About the Author
Kurt Niemann served his State as a probation officer for thirty-two years. His academic education includes a baccalaureate degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. In 1998, Kurt was also a recipient of many awards. Among those were “Detention Officer Of The Year” by Maricopa County, Arizona, and “Detention Officer Of The Year” by the State of Arizona in 1999.
Kurt is a licensed Commercial Pilot by FAA in other areas of his life, is a Master Level Martial Artist in Kung Fu, Kenpo, and T’ai Chi Chuan, and served in the US Marine Corps. The author is happily married and blessed with sons, daughters, and many grandchildren.