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Probation Is an Opportunity Not a Punishment

Updated on January 6, 2019

Probation is what you make it

Ok. so you have yourself in trouble with the law, you've made a mistake or you ignored something you shouldn't have. You go to court, and the judge gives you probation. Now what?

Over the years that I have worked in the corrections field, I have had many clients who started with probation and ended up being revoked and sent to prison. That is usually how they came to be in my office, once they were paroled. Many of them told me that they would rather do the prison time than get probation, and that simply doesn't make sense to me. I understand that if you are on probation you can have your probation revoked and you are then sent to prison for what ever your back up is. What I don't understand is why, if you have the chance, would you not take the opportunity the judge has given you and use it to your advantage? Whether you have an SIS or and SES, if you look at it as a positive thing, it can be just that. A positive thing.

Think about it, you have made choices that have led you to where you are today, and probation can help you. Don't get me wrong, I know it is hard, but you at least still have choices at this point. Probation is set up not to punish but to teach. if you look at it with a good attitude, it can be a very positive thing. Yes, you have to walk a line, one that can sometimes cause stress and frustration, but the other side of that is that you are still in the community. you can still see your family, go to social events, family events, work, and have a life.

In some cases, the charges will be taken off your record, and maybe you don't quite understand the impact of that, but it is a big deal. One of the most difficult things guys and gals coming out of prison have to deal with is trying to get employment and housing. A criminal record can be a staggering barrier to both of those goals. And you have a chance to avoid it all together!!!

Probation, like I said should be looked at as a learning tool and a positive opportunity. I know.... stipulations, regulations, reporting, blah, blah, blah. I have heard all the complaints before. but you know what?? You have gotten yourself here and you have to accept responsibility for that. So get over your pity party. The probation officer is not there to harrass you. He or she is not there to be "all up in your business", oh! wait, yes they are there for that. The reason thay are there to be "all up in your business" is because your business is all messed up and has landed you where you are right now. You NEED to learn a new way of doing things or life is simply going to go downhill from here. The length of time it takes to learn that is entirely up to you, but so are the consequences of learning it slow.

Here's the deal. The conditions are put on you to keep you from being places, or being with people that will lead you down the wrong path. The reporting is put in place so you have someone checking on you so that you can be caught before you make a major mistake and end up revoked. The stipulations like education, employment etc. are put there to get you into the habit of doing things the right way, the way that will let you have a positive future.

So far, what you have been doing has not been working. Why not give a positive attitude with your probation a try? You just might be surprised at the outcome. I'm not going to tell you that it is going to be easy, because it probably won't be. Will it be worth it in the long run? You bet it will. You'll feel better about yourself and you'll have accomplished something significant. Best of all, you won't lose your freedom.


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    • Lifes 2nd Chances profile imageAUTHOR

      Colleen Lyon 

      7 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

      I will check it out. I am just getting ready to post a new hub on a personal experience as well. I am delighted I could inspire you to write. I am sure I will enjoy it. Take care, C.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      7 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

      Lifes 2nd Chances, I have written and posted the hub dealing with my probation experience. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Lifes 2nd Chances profile imageAUTHOR

      Colleen Lyon 

      7 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri

      Cam8510, I think a first hand account of how you changed your attitude and the difference it made would be great. I think it would help alot of people see the importance of it. Good luck, and way to go on your sobriety!!! One day at a time eh? Take care, C.

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      7 years ago from Green Bay, Wisconsin...for now

      Life's 2nd Chances, Thank you for your hub. It brings back all kinds of memories for me, both positive and not so positive. I have had two periods of probation. Both were for DUIs. The first I endured. The second I approached wholeheartedly with the attitude you have described here. What do you think of a hub dealing with how I handled probation the second time around? I have been off probation for 13 months and sober for three years, one month and three weeks and one day. I agree with you completely that probation is an opportunity for getting set up for a better life. Thanks again.



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