Internships can be a valuable asset to our Department while providing a practical education in probation and parole to students. The placement, by its nature, is not a highly structured experience: it is designed to be flexible to meet the needs of the Department, its clientele, and the student.
Student interns are regarded as professionals during the placement and are expected to conduct themselves appropriately. This includes being able to identify their developmental needs, and to adhere to the conduct of professional ethics.
Most internships are in the Supervision Units, working with Probation/Parole Officers as they perform their normal duties. While this is the most common placement, a limited number of internships are possible in special program or research related areas. Arrangements will be handled on an individual basis between the student and the Department. Any special interests, needs or limitations should be noted at the time formal application for placement is made.
Each assignment may vary. The following are various tasks that may be assigned:
- General travel and observation of Probation and Parole Officers
- Small caseload responsibility
- Initial interviewing
- Observation of hearings
- Assist with classification process
- Assist with pre-parole investigations
- Assist with special investigations
- Assist with pre-sentence investigations
- Completion of surveys, research, etc.
- Assist in other administrative duties
All interns will report to a Probation/Parole Officer Mentor. The mentor will be responsible for providing necessary guidance and support during the placement, and will also give the intern a department orientation.
While the Department attempts to offer a broad range of activities to student interns, there are limitations imposed by law, regulation or potential danger. These may include restrictions on participation in arrests, use of client-related data for research, etc. Students shall not add or alter any conditions of supervision. Students are not permitted to make any case decisions without the approval of the officer to whom the case is assigned.
How to Apply for Employment or an Internship
All students requesting a placement must complete the Application for Student Internship. The supervising professor or designated placement coordinator from the college or university should screen the application prior to submittal to assure timely coordination and support.
Applications should be submitted at least 60 days before the placement or as soon as possible thereafter. This is necessary to allow time for processing and screening.
The application must be sent directly to the Student Intern Coordinator, Chester County Adult Probation and Parole Department. Proper procedures for special types of internships may be secured by contacting the Student Intern Coordinator.
Once the completed application is received, it will be screened and a determination made if a placement is possible. A personal interview will be required before any final commitments can be made.
What is the criteria for placement?
Besides adequate academic preparation, a high degree of maturity is an essential prerequisite to placement with a criminal justice agency. The following criteria are taken into account when considering prospective interns:
- Students considered for placements should be pursuing a course of study related to the field of human service.
- Students should be in good academic standing at their respective college or university.
- Interest in the field, maturity, and initiative are characteristics necessary for placement.
- Logistical considerations should be given as to transportation, potential interruptions in work schedules, lodging arrangements, etc.
The Department will select only those students prepared to accept the responsibility of internship in a serious and professional manner. Students will be promptly notified when a decision is made. Arrangements will be made for the assignment and supervision of the student prior to reporting for placement.
Frequently Asked Questions
What About Part-time Placements?
Part-time student placements are accepted. A weekly minimum of 16 hours is required. It is preferred for the student to complete the required hours as two 8-hour work days. Each situation, however, is reviewed individually.
What About Job Shadowing?
The Department will allow a student to "job shadow" a Probation/Parole Officer as a 1-time experience. The Department will not conduct a student evaluation nor give a grade to the college or university in which the student is enrolled.
Will I be paid or receive compensation for my expenses?
The Department does not provide compensation or reimburse the student for any lodging or subsistence expenditures nor is it able to provide any stipends or reimbursements to either the student or school.
In situations where interns face risk of injury during their field placement, the County has no insurance nor is it empowered to seek such to cover such exposure. Liability exposure is part of the overall educational process for which the student intern is responsible.
If an act of negligence, committed by a student intern, resulted in a suit brought against an employee of the Department, the County would assume the employee's defense, unless it was determined that the employee had not acted in good faith or acted outside the scope of his/her duties. There would be no response, otherwise, to a claim or suit for negligence against the intern.
It is important that the student and the sponsoring college or university understand these provisions and limitations.