A Police Officer or a Social Worker? Research on the Professional Roles of Probation Officers

  • Simonas Nikartas
  • Justinas Paliauka
  • Artūras Tereškinas
Keywords: probation officer, probation, professional roles, role conflicts


The article discusses the results of the quantitative survey of Lithuanian probation officers. We attempt to answer the question of what roles officers choose in their professional service. Taking into account the specificity of probation officers’ duties and internationally accepted classifications, we use, in the article, the categories of the professional roles of policeman (or controlling agent) and social worker (or resocialising agent) to analyse Lithuanian probation officers. The conducted research demonstrates that the Lithuanian probation officers associate their professional service with the control-oriented and balanced roles. We explain the choice of the control-oriented role as influenced by such factors as strict punitive policies and punitive culture and the development of the Lithuanian probation system from the institution of police and control towards the institution of resocialisation and social support. The choice of the balanced role could be associated with the contrasting functions of control and resocialisation that the probation officers attempt to combine in their everyday professional activities.