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June 26, 2019 at 10:35 am

Internship with Probation Department Solidifies Interest in Community Service

Logan Swafford

Logan Swafford ’19

By Hayes Minich ‘19

Logan Swafford ‘19 graduated with a B.A. in Sociology-Criminology and Psychology. She hails from Englewood, Ohio and is currently residing in Dayton, Ohio with her fiancé. While at OHIO she was involved with many activities including the Collegiate chapter of the Ohio Innocence Project and the Pre-Law Fraternity, Phi Alpha Delta. In addition to being a Learning Community Leader for freshmen Bobcats, she participated in a spring internship through Roberta Roberson, coordinator for the Sociology and Sociology-Criminology Internship Program.

Probation Internship

Swafford’s Spring 2019 internship was located in Fairfield County in the Municipal Court Probation Department. As a probation intern for the Fairfield County Municipal Court her duties included filing reports, conducting intake interviews at the Fairfield County Jail, and assisting probation officer with their community service projects. Swafford also regularly met with individuals on probation to check in and assist them in any way she could. She always made sure that those on probation had shelter and transportation. Swafford went above and beyond by spending time giving advice to those who were in difficult situations.

Taking it Day-to-Day

Swafford said, “One of my favorite things about this job was the predictability as well as the unpredictability of the day. You knew walking into work each day the systematics of the job, and that you were going to talk to individuals who are going through hard times, but you can never predict what life stories you will hear, or the type of people that you will meet.”

A typical day in the office for her included multiple meetings with probationers to check in and review their schedule for the week. She also helped the department facilitate drug testing by collecting urine for drug tests. Every Wednesday she attended drug court, which has a specialized docket for drug related offenses. After court, Swafford completed the corresponding paperwork for those who were in court that day.

She said that her classes at OHIO helped her prepare for her internship by “teaching me time management skills, how to effectively communicate with others, as well as making sure that I went into each new interview with an open mind because I do not know what type of background an individual came from.”

Swafford worked closely and spoke with many individuals who received sanctioned community service. Over the course of many conversations she realized “that there are not many differences between us, but somehow one of us ended up on probation and the other working for the probation department.” She expressed an urge to build bonds with people and help them rise to their full potential.

A Career in the Community

The branch of Swafford’s internship that involved community service is what aided her the most in discovering what she wants in a career. Instead of being stuck inside all day she would like to go out into the community or talk to people at different agencies that partner with where she works. Swafford emphasized the importance of “giving every person that I come into contact with a hand to hold onto while they are facing difficult times.”

A Surprising Smell

One thing that surprised Swafford about her internship was experiencing the distinct smell of jails and prisons. She noted that she could spot an individual who was just released based on their smell because all jails smell the exact same way to her.

Another thing that surprised Swafford was how much the staff genuinely care about those on probation and their path to recovery. She explains that “there are bonds formed that are genuine between the probationer and probation officer that is not what you would expect. Those on probation, when they do an action they are not allowed to do, such as relapse, tell on themselves and do not hide it.” She believes that “this truthfulness is something that would not be found if those bonds were not present.”

Valuing Recovery

A valuable lesson that Swafford learned is to not put more work into someone’s recovery than they are. She and her coworkers are only able to help someone as much as they are willing to work. She values recovery highly, but to her “it is not worth putting everything I have into someone to try to help them recover if they are not willing to work at their own recovery. I could spend this time aiding others who want recovery more than anything else.”

When asked why she valued her internship, Swafford said “I think the life long bonds that I formed with my co-workers, the life experience, and general life advice that I obtained are things that I could never replace.”

The Last Day

On Swafford’s final day in the office her coworkers all had lunch together to thank her for all of the work that she had done. It was not until she was about to part with the coworkers who had become her friends that she realized how large of an impact she had in the office. As she thought about everything she had learned and accomplished she thought about just how far she has come.

“Comparing where I started on my very first day, knowing nothing and eating alone in my car. Now I’m able to file my own arrest warrants, have people I consider friends in the office, and no longer eat lunch alone,” she says. “This day was extremely sad but also my favorite day because of the growth I achieved.”

The internship program in sociology and criminology is open to all junior and senior Sociology, Sociology-Criminology, and Sociology Pre-Law majors. For more information, contact the internship coordinator Roberta Roberson at robersor@ohio.edu.

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