You are here


In the federal courts, supervision is a way to monitor the actions and behavior of defendants and offenders released to the community. These persons are either awaiting trial, on probation, or supervised release which is a term of community supervision following a term of imprisonment. U.S. probation and pretrial services officers provide supervision by carrying out duties to help ensure that persons under supervision obey the law and comply with the conditions set for their release. These duties include visiting defendants and offenders at home and at work, checking on their attendance at court-ordered drug or mental health treatment, and much more.

Supervision yields benefits for the community, for the courts, and for the defendants and offenders who come before the courts. A significant benefit is that supervision provides a cost-saving alternative to jail or prison. Supervision also potentially makes the community safer and the lives of defendants and offenders better.

Officers intervene with a variety of strategies aimed at maximizing defendant and offender success during the period of supervision. These strategies include techniques both to control and to correct the behavior of persons under supervision to help ensure that these individuals comply with the conditions of release the court has set for them and remain law abiding. As part of risk control—and by order of the court—officers may direct defendants and offenders to services to assist them. These services include substance abuse or mental health treatment, medical care, training, or employment assistance. Treatment providers under contract to the U.S. courts provide many of these services. Social service resources provided by state and local programs also are used.