Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Parole officers, Probation officers, Parole officers -- Job stress, Probation officers -- Job stress


Probation and parole officers play a vital role in the operation of the correctional system. As a part of their role work in community-based corrections, probation and parole officers must act as both a client monitor and treatment counselor to not only assist in client reentry, but also to protect the public. Due to the nature of probation and parole work and the historical changes that have affected their work (i.e. the punitive turn, the New Penology, and the current correctional budgetary constraints), probation and parole officers must cope with a variety of factors in their work that can cause role strain. Drawing on data gathered from open-ended interviews and ethnographic observation, this research examines the role work of probation and parole officers in one field office in Iowa. In Judicial District L's field office, probation and parole officers not only monitor the behaviors of their clients, but they also actively engage in their rehabilitation. These dual responsibilities create role ambiguity for the officers because there is no clear definition of how the officer must use these responsibilities to achieve their goal of public safety. The officers in Judicial District L also have to deal with other factors that can create role strain such as working within the demands of the bureaucracy and working with convicted offenders. To prevent burnout from these role strains the officers engage in strategies to reduce their role strain such as role fusion, venting to co-workers, and adopting a positive perception of their work.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

First Advisor

Tara Opsal, Chair


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit an email request to scholarworks@uni.edu. Include your name and clearly identify the thesis by full title and author as shown on the work.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iv, 115 leaves ; 28 cm)



File Format


Included in

Criminology Commons