In Class News

April 5, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Sociology-Criminology Student Interns with the Adult Parole Authority

Zach Walden in suit and tie with front door behind him

By Mercedes Lewis ’19
Sociology and English Creative Writing double major

I recently interviewed a Sociology-Criminology major about his post-graduate internship this past fall.

Zachary Walden graduated in December 2016 and headed to an internship at the Athens Adult Parole Authority office, where he learned about the day to life in the office, as well about himself.

Why did you choose to do an internship?

I decided to do the internship to gain knowledge outside the classroom.

Learning from lectures can only capture so much. Actually being able to put your skills and knowledge to real life tests help you develop a different type of knowledge that will benefit you in different ways.

Why this internship?

When I first met with Roberta Roberson, I wanted an internship that would put me inside the court room. However, due to scheduling complications, I decided to intern at Adult Parole Authority because I wanted to help troubled individuals learn how to change their lives.

This internship put me in contact with offenders that I thought I could help to help themselves.

What did you expect from it? Did it meet your expectations?

Going into the internship I had little knowledge as what to expect.

I knew Parole Officers (POs) monitored the offenders and enforced the law. Other than that, I went in with the mind of a sponge.

Once I was settled in and had learned the ropes, the internship met all my expectations and more.

I traveled with the POs to the offender’s home. I met one-on-one with offenders and helped them complete tasks toward getting off parole. I also conducted other tasks throughout the office with the POs.

How was it different from your expectations?

I had no idea how much paper work and administrative work there would be!

What did you do?

Day-to-day life at the office mostly consisted of completing paperwork in the morning with the officers.

I also regularly conducted office visits with the offenders, as well as working with them through Carey Guides, which are designed to aid corrections professionals with helping offenders understand the personal and environmental factors underlying their offending behavior and the skills they need so they can make positive changes for their future.

Later in the day, we frequently traveled in the field while conducting home visits and home placements where we would meet in their homes and search the surroundings.

Home placements are where we ensure that the address is a legitimate home and safe for offender who is being released from prison.

What do you love and enjoy most about it?

What I enjoyed the most about being at the Adult Parole Authority office was working the offenders to help them get back on track. Everybody needs help, and if they are willing to work with us, we can support them in doing so.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve experienced and learned?

One thing that really stood out to me while at the parole office is how much the state affects the work of the POs. Due to specific regulations, the POs can only do so much for the offenders.

It’s amazing because the goal of the parole office is rehabilitating offenders back into society to become functioning members of society.

Has it made a difference for you as you contemplated what to do after graduation?


I had thought about working in the court system, but rehabilitation and re-entry had not occurred to me.

This internship helped me realize that this kind of work is what I want to do. I want to work with offenders to help get their life back together.  I think of it is helping to bring light back into their lives.

 Anything else you would like to add?

My favorite question that we ask new offenders is, “Do you want your life to be easy?”

To make it simple, we would give them the resources and opportunities to make life simple and easy.

But in the end, it all depends on the person themselves. We can only do so much.

Job After Graduation

Now that I have graduated, I landed a job as a Youth Specialist in Circleville, OH, for the Department of Youth Services.

If it wasn’t for my internship in the related field, I would be job searching and stressing about student loans.

Thanks to the Sociology-Criminology internship program at Ohio University, I was able to start a career that only has positive outcomes for myself and many of the individuals I work with.


  1. Julie Morris says:

    Can you explain in simple terms what the parole board does? My son is saying there basically is no parole board for his crime, felony assault on a minor, and child endangerment. He’s serving 15-life. Went in 2015. Tells me there will be no parole hearing. His only chance st early release is requesting judicial relief. How is this possible? Have American courts lost their minds?

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