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After a criminal conviction, or being released from custody, a person usually must 'walk on thin ice' for a varied length of time. That's usually due to being on probation or parole.
Sadly, when probationers and parolees violate the terms of their parole or probation, they can end up facing time in custody. Probation, or parole, officers are tasked with regularly meeting with individuals and reporting violations to the courts. As such, individuals often wonder whether they can record their meetings with a parole or probation officer, as they would with a police officer conducting a traffic stop.
Whether or not you can record the meeting will usually be dictated by the officer's department's policy. Recording police in public is different than doing so inside a station or office. However, if there is no policy, it will likely be up to your officer's discretion. If there's nothing suspicious going on, and you just want to record the meetings so you can remember what was said, ask politely. Secretly recording a private meeting or conversation can, in some states, be the basis of serious civil or criminal charges, which would likely be a violation of parole or probation. However, if you live in a one party consent state, you may be able to just leave a recorder in your bag or pocket (consult an attorney before doing so).
Additionally, secretly recording or arguing about recording the meeting with your probation officer could lead to further straining of the relationship, which could lead to an even less sympathetic officer. Often, probationers or parolees will take specific notes during their meetings, or immediately after, and send a copy to the officer to confirm accuracy.
If you suspect or have been the victim of a corrupt parole or probation officer, involving authorities, and retaining an experienced civil rights attorney, might be able to protect you from further consequences. It may be necessary to go outside the law enforcement system that manages your parole or probation, such as contacting the FBI or Attorney General, which is why retaining an attorney can be helpful. If a secret recording is required, let a law enforcement agency authorize you to make it. Utilizing the proper authorities is likely the only way to ensure that you don't suffer consequences for doing the right thing.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.