Juvenile and Adult Probation

Within the Judicial Branch of state government, the Office of the Commissioner of Probation serves as the central administrative office for the Mass probation service and the Office of Community Corrections. The Massachusetts Probation Service consists of 105 probation departments (adult and juvenile) one each in the 105 courts and 23 Community Corrections Centers throughout the state. The Office of the Commissioner oversees field offices that serve four levels of courts. 1) Superior Court (primary jurisdiction for felony cases); 2) District Court (low-level felony and misdemeanor cases); 3) Juvenile Court; and 4) Probate and Family Court.

Adult and juvenile probation, probate and family court officers do not carry a firearm. They are not classified as peace officers. They do not have the power to arrest but they can issue warrants.

Within the Community Corrections Centers, probation officers in charge do not carry a firearm and do not have the power to arrest or issue a warrant.

There is a probation standard that prohibits the officers from carrying a firearm.

At the time of the survey, it was not under consideration to allow these officers to carry a firearm.

There are no private companies that provide adult or juvenile probation supervision services.

Juvenile Parole

The Executive Office of Health and Human Services’ Department of Youth Services oversees juvenile aftercare supervision services.

These officers do not carry a firearm. They are not classified as peace officers but do have the power to arrest or take into custody juveniles under aftercare supervision.

Under Massachusetts Law, only persons characterized as “Special State Police Officers” can carry firearms (other than regular police officers). Department of Youth Services AWOL Apprehension Officers are not currently classified as “Special State Police Officers” and to reclassify them as such would probably require a General Law amendment.

Private non-profit agencies assist DYS personnel in providing juvenile aftercare services.

Adult Parole

The Massachusetts Parole Board, within the Executive Branch of state government is responsible for the supervision of adult parolees.

Adult parole officers do carry a firearm. They are not classified as peace officers. They are classified as special state police officers and are considered law enforcement officers. They do have the power to arrest, but it is primarily limited to parolees. They transport prisoners in the performance of their duties.

Massachusetts’ firearm policy has been in place for many years. Officers hired after 1989 undergo psychological testing. Officers receive firearm education and training through agency instructors who are certified by the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Training Council. All officers are required to proficiently complete the training prior to being allowed to carry a firearm. They receive continuing firearms training and must re-qualify annually.

The officers are required to carry a 9mm handgun, OC canisters, and wear body armor that is provided by the Department.

There are no private companies providing adult parole supervision.

For updates or corrections to the information on this page, please contact: Diane Kincaid