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Probation Internship Opportunities

Student Internship Program

The U.S. Probation Office in the Eastern District of Missouri is excited to offer an Internship Program for students interested in the criminal justice arena. The mission of Internship Program is to partner with area colleges and universities to provide an opportunity for students to apply their academic learnings in a work environment related to their field of study. The goal is to provide students with a range of experiences within the Federal Court System. Students will serve in a non-compensated position within the organization and will be introduced to the diverse roles of a United States Probation Officer with regard to Presentence Investigations (Court Services Unit), as well as the supervision of offenders and defendants (Supervision Services Unit).

Office Background

The U.S. Probation Office falls under the umbrella of the Judicial Branch and is part of a network of 94 federal judicial districts nationwide, include the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The mission of the U.S. Probation Office in the Eastern District of Missouri is to assist the Court in the administration of justice; facilitate long term positive change for those under supervision; and to contribute to a safer community.

Who We Are:

The U.S. Probation is

  • the community corrections arm of the federal judiciary.
  • part of the U.S. district courts.
  • a key player in the federal criminal justice process at both the pretrial and post-conviction stages.
  • a national system of employees, who include probation and officer assistants; information technology, budget, and human resources professionals; and support staff.
  • a national system with a shared mission, professional identity, goals, and values.

What We Do:

U.S. Probation Officers are considered the "eyes and ears" of the federal courts, investigate and supervise persons charged with or convicted of federal crimes. Officers

  • gather and verify information about persons who come before the courts.
  • prepare reports that the courts rely on to make release and sentencing decisions.
  • supervise persons released to the community by the courts and paroling authorities.
  • direct persons under supervision to services to help them stay on the right side of the law, including substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, medical care, training, and employment assistance.

About the Internship Program

The Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to learn how to apply the theories of case management through actual practice with the offenders under the supervision of assigned probation officers. In addition to reinforcing the student’s academic concepts through practical work experience, this opportunity will provide students with the ability to enhance transferable skills needed for any professional work setting and to assist the student in making career choices.

Conduct investigations for the court:

  • interviews with defendants and offenders to find out about their backgrounds, including family, education, employment, finances, physical and mental health, and alcohol or drug abuse.
  • criminal history record checks.
  • interviews with other people who can provide helpful information, such as family members, employers, and law enforcement officials.
  • reviews of records, such as court records, school records, military records, financial records, and employment records.

The presentence investigation:

  • is conducted when a person enters a guilty plea or receives a guilty verdict following a trial.
  • requires the officer to assess the offender's living conditions, family relationships, community ties, and drug use.

Prepare reports for the court

The presentence report:

  • recommends sentencing options under the federal sentencing guidelines.
  • addresses the offense's impact on the victim and the offender's ability to pay fines and restitution.
  • recommends release conditions for the court to impose to help structure the offender's movement and behavior in the community. Release conditions are tailored to the individual. For example, they may require that the offender get drug testing and treatment, find and keep a job, or be placed on location monitoring.

Supervise defendants and offenders in the community

  • make sure they comply with the release conditions set by the court and address any issues that affect their ability to comply.
  • monitor them through phone calls and personal contacts, including meeting with them in the probation office and at their homes or jobs.
  • monitor them through contacting others, including family members, employers, and treatment providers.
  • direct them to services to help them – such as substance abuse or mental health treatment, medical care, training, or employment assistance – as ordered by the court.
  • manage any risk they pose to individuals or the community by verifying their employment, monitoring their associates, restricting their travel, and taking other actions to make sure they're obeying the law.

Expectations of the College/University

No internship will be successful without coordination among the agency, student and school. We encourage the student’s advisor to meet with the coordinating probation officer in person at least once during the placement. This forum will be an opportunity to discuss the student’s progress. It should also be used as an opportunity for the school’s representative to inform the probation officer of any problems or changes in the student’s requirements.

Application Procedures and Acceptance

All interested students should complete the application package and specific instructions are included in the Internships Standards and Responsibilities. Applications should be received at least 60 days in advance of the term planned for the internship; however, exceptions can be made depending on the circumstances. The most qualified applicants will receive a personal interview with our staff. If selected, the student will be required to undergo a background investigation, and the student will be notified of his/her acceptance. All employees (compensated and non-compensated) are required to adhere to the Code of Conduct and abide by confidentiality policies.

Questions should be directed to