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Prison and Probation Services Cover Letter Example

Landing your next prison and probation services job just got a whole lot easier with Resume.io’s step-by-step cover letter guide backed up by adaptable examples.
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Prison and Probation Services Cover Letter Example
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Prison and probation officers need to understand how the impact of incarceration has affected each individual inmate and make a judgment in terms of whether they are ready to return to society. Are they on the path to redemption and is it the time to release them into a society that they wronged?

There are certain hard and fast rules to abide by, but, to a large extent, any second chance of these offenders is in their hands. That is a weighty responsibility. The prison and probation services cover letter needs to convey the nuances (and repercussions) of their decision making. This prison and probation services cover letter guide focuses on:

  • Working out the best cover letter format to frame your correctional story.
  • Which messages to include in the header, middle part, and conclusion.
  • How to select the most relevant parts of your experience to sell yourself.
  • Which mistakes to avoid when writing the prison and probation cover letter.
Expert tip

Job search inspiration may come from many sources. Priosn and probation officers may not change roles so often, so Resume.io’s extensive list of cover letter examples may offer additional inspiration.

Best format for a prison and probation cover letter

The whole point of prison is rehabilitation, so the cover letter of a probation officer should highlight exactly how you manage the vital task of deciding whether someone is ready to step back into society. You won’t have space to tell every story, but the stories that you do tell should be relevant to the role in question and shine a light on your overall approach to your job. Which of your probation decisions were justified? Where did you learn lessons?

You should format the prison and probation services cover letter in the following way:

  • Cover letter header
  • Greeting / salutation
  • Cover letter intro
  • Middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • Conclusion of your cover letter

The comprehensive cover letter guide offers a different slant on creating compelling cover letters – there are many choices in terms of style, content and language. Prison managers will be looking at chinks in your armour - pay attention to the smallest details. Each section should contain a slightly different message, something that an experienced hiring manager understands very well. They will keep reading if you keep them interested.

This probation officer cover letter example offers a glimpse of what you may wish to include:

Adaptable cover letter example 

January 13, 2022

Dear Mr. Hitchington,

As an experienced prison and probation officer, I understand when inmates are ready to contribute to society. I have worked in correctional facilities with over 800+ offenders and managed 200+ probation cases after my move across from prison warder.

Following these individuals through their time in the prison system helped me understand the trajectory of someone who is ready to be released. I enjoyed staying in touch with my charges and took pleasure in helping them to find work and adapt. When you have stable work, you are more likely to integrate. Reoffending is far less likely. I am adept at persuading employers to give former inmates a second chance. 

I have been involved in sentencing recommendations and am constantly reevaluating my understanding of the penal code. If an offender has done their penance and has been rehabilitated, they should be given a second chance if they are psychologically ready. 5% of my released prisoners have reoffended (half the average for my previous employer).

I was commended seven times during my time in the Atlanta prison system and my last state appraisal mentioned me as one of the “young stars.” I hope that a move to a bigger prison facility will allow me to increase my impact on improving offender actions and prospects

I would welcome the opportunity of an interview to share my letters of recommendation. I hope that I will add a fresh energy to your probation team.

Sincerely,

Trevor Arnold

Copied!

Cover letter header

The cover letter header for a probation officer should contain your contact details – full name, email, and mobile number. Make sure that you double check them as you do not want any issues should the hiring manager wish to invite you to an interview. 

For discrimination and data protection reasons, you might not choose to include your full home address – city and state will be fine. You can share the full address at the offer stage. Equally, although it is traditional, an inside address of the employer is not required (although it is an option if you really want to go the extra mile). Our adaptable cover letter sample can give insight into an appropriate header for a prison and probation services position.

Opt for a simple and professional look for the cover letter header. No prison leader will be impressed by flashy colours or designs. They want to hire someone who values substance over style.

Cover letter greeting and introduction

Formality is important in the regimented atmosphere of a prison, so make sure that your greeting reflects your respect for authority (and the respect with which you expect to be treated). Set the tone with a “Dear Mr / Mrs Surname” - you can’t go wrong. Look up the name of the hiring manager. Their details should be publicly available or in the job description. Alternatively, you may choose to phone the prison and ask. If there are no details available, a warm “Dear Prison Name team” will be adequate. Below you’ll find the greeting from our cover letter sample.

The introduction of a prison and probation letter needs to get straight into your impact on the prospects of the offenders. Talk about the scope of your role – how many probation cases you handle every year and how many are successful. Much as there is nuance involved, at the end of the day it is a numbers game. Make sure that you offer context to your career achievements. It is a stressful job - you have to be able to handle this at volume.

You tone should be quietly assured rather than overconfident. Confidence for a prison and probation services professional comes from knowing that they are doing the right thing. You love your job because you understand your role in society. See how this is done in our cover letter introduction below.

Adaptable cover letter greeting and introduction example

Dear Mr. Hitchington,

 

As an experienced prison and probation officer, I understand when inmates are ready to contribute to society. I have worked in correctional facilities with over 800+ offenders and managed 200+ probation cases after my move across from prison warder.

Copied!

Cover letter middle part (body)

The core part of the middle section is to pick a couple of examples and lay out your motivation for why you come to work every day. Being a probation officer can be a mentally stressful role when you need to keep turning down applications (for the right reasons), so you need to show how it is those few success stories that keep you going.

Your job isn't to let everyone out as soon as possible, so your cover letter should highlight your restraint and caution. Mistakes may result in further lives being lost (or destroyed), so talk about your professional approach.

Discuss the kinds of cases that you will be handling in your new role. You need to sound like one of the team before you come into the interview room. Mirror the language from the job description and err on the side of formal in your tone. You can’t afford to come across as being too friendly, so keep your language professional and measured. Check out the body of our cover letter sample below.

Adaptable cover letter body example 

Following these individuals through their time in the prison system helped me understand the trajectory of someone who is ready to be released. I enjoyed staying in touch with my charges and took pleasure in helping them to find work and adapt. When you have stable work, you are more likely to integrate. Re-offending is far less likely. I am adept at persuading employers to give former inmates a second chance.

 

I have been involved in sentencing recommendations and am constantly reevaluating my understanding of the penal code. If an offender has done their penance and has been rehabilitated, they should be given a second chance if they are psychologically ready. 5% of my released prisoners have re-offended (half the average for my previous employer).

 

I was commended seven times during my time in the Atlanta prison system and my last state appraisal mentioned me as one of the “young stars.” I hope that a move to a bigger prison facility will allow me to increase my impact on improving offender actions and prospects

Copied!

How to end a prison and probation cover letter (conclusion & sign-off)

The conclusion of a prison and probation cover letter should give one last factual example of why you are the person for the job. Every line of your cover letter sales pitch needs to work as hard as possible to convince the hiring manager that you are the person for the role. 

Maybe share an example of where you made an unusual decision that worked out well - not every situation will turn out as you expect. With any example that you share, make sure that you show how any risk was calculated. Prison leaders won't want to hire a loose cannon. Too much is at stake

Then comes the confidence part. You need to show that you are keen on the role by letting them know that you are looking forward to finding out more at an interview. Don’t be presumptuous and say that you deserve it (as you don’t know who else you are up against), but the inclusion of this call-to-action should spur the hiring manager into thinking whether they want to send that interview invite. Get more insight in our adaptable cover letter sample below.

Adaptable cover letter example of the conclusion & sign-off

I would welcome the opportunity of an interview to share my letters of recommendation. I hope that I will add a fresh energy to your probation team.
 

Sincerely,

Trevor Arnold

Copied!

Avoiding basic mistakes in a prison and probation cover letter

No probation officer can afford errors in their work, administrative or otherwise, so be incredibly careful in avoiding errors in the cover letter. Perceptions are easily swayed and your future boss will first be looking for all the reasons not to hire you before they consider your positive attributes.

  1. Make sure that you avoid spelling and grammar errors. Grammarly is an excellent. Proofread the letter and ensure that it sounds like you. Maybe ask a friend to offer their feedback.
  2. Make sure that the letters sound professional. The tone of the cover letter should be as formal as you might be in a probation interview. Be careful here.
  3. Don’t write too much. Stick to one page for your cover letter. You have many stories to tell, but leave some of them until the interview.
Expert tip

The impact of a cover letter lies not only in your words, but also in the visual impact of the cover letter. You can choose from a variety of cover letter templates – sticking with the professional variants would be a wise choice.

Key takeaways

  1. Make sure that you tell the most emotive and impactful probation stories.
  2. Ensure that every aspect of the cover letter is relevant to the specific prison role.
  3. Use the right language and tone to show that you will fit in with the correctional team.
  4. Put the inmates at the center of your letter. They are what your job is all about.
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