Friend on Probation
February 12, 2005 8:44 PM   Subscribe

An old friend (and one time fling) from out of town wants to visit for a few days. But there's a problem: he's on probation and wants to do a little traveling. He knows that he'll reap the whirlwind when he returns (which he says that he will do) but swears that no one will be interested in looking for him for the time he'll be away. I'm not so sure that leaving the watchful eyes of probation won't ensue a manhunt. I'm feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing. My question is this: in this circumstance, how do you turn a good friend down?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (15 answers total)
In my jurisdiction, helping one violate the terms of probation is a crime.

In my opinion, if you are his friend, a true friend, you will be a hardass about what he needs to do about cleaning his life up.
posted by greasy_skillet at 8:51 PM on February 12, 2005

Just tell him you're worried that being with him while he's violating his probation puts you in trouble with the law, and you're not comfortable with that. If he's a good friend, he'll understand.
posted by alan at 9:08 PM on February 12, 2005

Offer to visit him instead. Explain you value him free and not in jail.
posted by filmgeek at 9:30 PM on February 12, 2005

So in the eyes of the law, that's what's known as aiding and abetting a felon on probation who's absconding the jurisdiction.

My guess would be that unless he's a high-profile baddie or someone who has given a cop a reason to make an example of him, he won't be pursued like Smokey the Bandit. But the bottom line is, it makes you uncomfortable. And if you can't tell an "old friend" he's making you uncomfortable, what kind of friend is he, really?

Say: "It's creeping me out that you'd insist on staying with me when you're wanted by the law. If you respect me, you'll respect that."

Or, a bit more blunt: "We had a thing, but I'm not the Bonnie to your Clyde. You're coming to town, I can't stop you, but you ain't staying at my house."

(Just my $.02.)
posted by sacre_bleu at 9:34 PM on February 12, 2005

First of all, a lot depends on what he is on probation for and how long he has been on it. If it's a big deal, bigtime dealing, murder (well, maybe you don't get probation for murder, I don't know) or something like that, then yes, you should try to extricate yourself. If, on the other hand, it's something akin to simple possession, or child support arrears, or his probation has been ongoing for several years, than you're probably both in the clear. You are allowed to leave the state when you're on probation, you're just supposed to clear it with your PO first.

I have several friends who have been through this process - they don't always clear it with their POs when they leave for a couple days, because it is sometimes a ridiculously difficult process (see one friend, barely allowed to go to her mother's funeral.) Most people who just go without asking don't get caught, either, because they have set times to see their POs, and they make sure to be back for those. In the beginning of probation, however, it's more risky, since the PO is likely to come by the house at random times, unless you're in a big city like Baltimore, in which case they will probably never bother.

In any case, it's very unlikely that you will be called in for anything. He'll go back; if he gets caught out, he'll maybe get yelled at or in an extreme case they will violate his parole and he will go back to jail. I can't imagine a scenario where they would care where he had been or what he had been doing. You also can always say that a) you didn't know he was on probation or b) you had no idea he hadn't spoken to his PO.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:05 PM on February 12, 2005

I don't have the statistics in front of me, but any big city has literally hundreds, if not thousands, of people on parole/probation that corrections officials simply cannot find. Very few jurisdictions really have the resources to apprehend these people. Most of the time if they are ever caught it is because they have been rearrested.

So, he probably isn't going to have the police knocking at your door, but it sounds like he is risking an awful lot for a little travelling.
posted by Doug at 10:23 PM on February 12, 2005

And, on rereading your question, I realized I didn't answer it completely - you're worried about them coming looking for him. Basically, if his probation is old or for small stakes, as I said above, then no, they won't come after him at all. If it's for bigger stakes, they still are unlikely to institute a huge manhunt but they may put a bit more effort into it. Either way, if he gets caught doing something else, he's in trouble and his punishment will be worse: he might go back to his original state in cuffs for a routine traffic stop.

A general APB, manhunt like on TV? Very very unlikely, in fact, the chances are almost nil unless he's really incredibly high profile.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:25 PM on February 12, 2005

I agree with alan and don't feel bad about it because a real friend wouldn't put you in a situation like this.
posted by Tarrama at 10:48 PM on February 12, 2005

One thing could lead to another. Your friend may decide that they need to borrow a lot of money from you, come up with a wodnerful sob story, then split town.

As others have said, it may be unlikely that the police will come knocking on your door, but it is even less likely that anything good will come of this meeting.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:03 PM on February 12, 2005

Your friend needs to be responsible, and get a travel permit before he goes wandering. Officers give travel permits as a matter of course, and if he can't get one, that's a very bad sign.

If your friend is pulled over or has any contact with police for any reason whatsoever, it will generate a "hit", which will be transmitted back to his officer. You may think it unlikely that he will have police contact, but for some reason it's suprisingly common. This may be no problem for him. It may be the last thing the officer needs to send your friend back to jail. It will definitely be a pain in the ass for his officer, who is human too, and doesn't deserve this kind of grief for a trivial trip.

Your friend is displaying the kind of behavior that likely got him in trouble in the first place. He needs to be a grownup about about this.
posted by frykitty at 12:50 AM on February 13, 2005

What frykitty said.

Probation is a time to be responsible. I suggest you tell him to grow up and pay his dues. The question of your liability shouldn't even come up. His job is to keep things "square" and not expose you to even the hint of risk.
posted by reflecked at 5:07 AM on February 13, 2005

One thing could lead to another. Your friend may decide that they need to borrow a lot of money from you, come up with a wonderful sob story, then split town.

This kind of comment just seems oddly out of place. One thing could lead to another and he could also surprise you with a gift of some sort... who knows? This is simply an "old friend" who is on probation, which tells us little about his character, let alone his intentions.

That said, I wouldn't worry about being implicated in anything. Probation officers are typically some of the most stressed people in law enforcement, and as many said before, if your friend isn't a big fish, there will be no manhunt. The resources simply don't exist to facilitate one! So no worries in that department.

But as you are uncomfortable with this, it appears to me that this "old friend" is hardly a friend at all, so I would simply say no--but I would first ask myself, has this person ever helped me when I was in a similar position?
posted by dead_ at 5:53 AM on February 13, 2005

Just say no.
posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 3:37 PM on February 13, 2005

But there's a problem: he's on probation and wants to do a little traveling. He knows that he'll reap the whirlwind when he returns
Hope my comment is not too late. Why can't he travel while on probation?
Meaning, does his probation allow traveling which is filling out a travel report prior to the trip? Most probation will allow this. Seen many who refuse trying on the basis it may be refused, yet they don’t know until they actually ask.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:17 PM on February 22, 2005

I'm not so sure that leaving the watchful eyes of probation won't ensue a manhunt.
If he is on probation for a misdemeanor, most likely the authorities will not go out of state for him.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:20 PM on February 22, 2005

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