My client applied for the role of Probation Officer in State (TAS) Government and won a job interview. Six specifically-written selection criteria required addressing. Following are full excerpts of two of the criteria.
Well-developed interviewing, negotiation and conflict resolution skills including the ability to motivate, challenge behaviours and deal professionally with high risk offenders, critical situations and work related stress.
On one occasion during my employment within the Department of XYZ, I attended an incident involving a young male (with mental health conditions) who was behaving violently at his parent’s home. This was a highly contentious situation where a mental health order was issued beforehand for this individual to be transported to hospital for assessment. I was the lead communicator and accompanied by three colleagues; I conferred with them on my strategy in dealing with this situation prior to attending the scene. My initial approach with this individual involved displaying honesty, openness and transparency from the outset in order to establish trust and rapport and to help calm him. I emphasised there was only one workable option going forward whereupon I then commenced conducting a brief interview.
The goal of interviewing was to help him clearly understand no harm would come to him; and that by abiding by this option, it would benefit both him and his parents. The interview process involved asking specific questions which focused on drawing out responses regarding his perception and feelings of what he thought would happen. Questions were targeted to determine his emotional state – why he felt the way he did, how he felt toward situations in the past involving intervention, and why he felt overly emotional and agitated at the present time. Throughout the process of interviewing, I actively listened and demonstrated my understanding via appropriate vocal cues and non-verbal gestures.
The progression of the interview correlated with a significant drop in his aggressive demeanour. Subsequently, he accompanied us in a voluntary capacity to the hospital; he was amicable, calm and did not display any aggression when we left his parent’s home and during transportation. Furthermore, I was thanked by one of my colleagues – she applauded my approach and display of honesty with him and stated this was instrumental in resolving the situation.
An understanding of contemporary issues in criminal justice matters and a demonstrated capacity to model appropriate pro social behaviour in order to facilitate change in offending behaviour, whilst recognising and maintaining appropriate boundaries.
Two key contemporary issues in criminal justice matters include Terrorism and Cyber Crime. As part of my Operation Safety, Skills and Tactics (OSST) training, I completed key topics covering the effects of terrorism in society, social issues, awareness of behaviour patterns, and reasons why people are drawn to marginalised areas. Over the course of my career, I have attended incidents involving terrorism threats claiming to be ISIS. This involved briefing with bomb squad officers, negotiators, incident commanders, and counter terrorism specialist, before recording and collecting evidence for possible prosecutions.
Over a three year period, I was extensively involved working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community on diversionary programs to help facilitate change in offending behaviour. I dealt with new and repeat young offenders individually and in group settings. Their offences were minor in nature such as public nuisance and disorderly conduct. Individually, I escorted each of them to shelters versus incarceration by placing them in police custody for petty offences. Taking them to shelters was a program requirement; on arrival, I escorted them to meet with social workers to discuss strategies to help them on a different path to avoid arrest. I also participated in collaborative meetings with support systems (each individual’s family and friends) to determine feasible short- and long-term accommodation, and to use them as positive behavioural role models. From the outset, I stipulated and emphasised appropriate boundaries: they had to be agreeable with the process, not display any aggression or violence, and be compliant.
Over the course of this three year period, positive outcomes were achieved: a lower number of individuals were incarcerated, they went on to receive education regarding appropriate behaviour, and activities that would lead to negative consequences; and the program facilitated a productive and positive path to reform. Furthermore, several individuals who had been repeat offenders returned to their communities, did not reoffend, and rebuilt links, networks and relationships with families and friends.
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