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 Does my probation officer approve my job on federal probation or supervised release? 

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Michael Santos

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My Probation Officer denied my job both in the halfway house and on probation. Now what?

July 8, 2018

“Did you read your judgment order following your sentence?” I asked a white collar defendant who called me yesterday.

“No, I do not know what you mean or what this is,” he told me.

“So, to be clear, after you were sentenced to federal prison for wire fraud you and your lawyer did not review your judgment and the terms of your federal probation?”, I wanted to be 100% clear.

“No, nothing. After I heard I was going to federal prison, I was in a daze. Then my lawyer went dark and I have not really heard from him since. That was 13 months ago. I am now home from federal prison and am freaking out because my probation officer just told me I cannot return to my job. I had planned on always returning to that job after my release from federal prison. This is bad. What do I do? How do I make money? Why are they stopping me from working? I have a family? Will this nightmare ever end?”

I wrote about these types of stories in Lessons From Prison.

In one case, I wrote about a white collar defendant who spent his days in federal prison watching ESPN. He presumed he would be able to return to his prior career. That assumption led him to waste his days inside Taft Federal Prison Camp. Like the executive who called me yesterday, he was stunned when his probation officer told him his “judgment order” precluded him from returning to his prior job.

When will you meet your probation officer?

Initial Meeting:
If the individual completed his sentence in a halfway house, the Probation Officer likely will have visited to meet with the individual at least once. Either way, the first official meeting of Supervised Release takes place in the Probation Office. The Probation Officer will read the Judgment Order aloud. After reading each condition that the Judge ordered as part of the sentence, the Probation Officer will ask the probationer if he has any questions. When the probation says that he understands, the Probation Officer will ask him to initial the order. This formality ensures that both the probationer and the Probation Officer know and understand the terms of the relationship going forward.

The Judgment Order will dictate the terms of Supervised Release. Different defendants will have different conditions that are specific to their case. Depending on the case, the Judge may impose orders that restrict the type of work an individual can do while on Supervised Release. At Prison Professors, we’ve worked with clients who have conditions of Supervised Release that included:

• No Internet sales or businesses

• No telemarketing work

• No work in the credit industry

• No self-employment

• No working for specific businesses or with specific individuals

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