Government of New Brunswick

Probation is a sentence of the court that allows a young person or adult who has been found (or pled) guilty of a crime, to remain in the community under specific conditions.

Probation is designed to motivate the young person/adult to become a more responsible person in the community and to live a law-abiding life..

Probation is designed to encourage responsible interaction between the young person/adult and the community while ensuring the safety of the public.


A probation order is a court document containing condition(s) to which the sentenced person must adhere. Probation can last up to three years and include conditions like reporting to a probation officer, abstaining from alcohol/drugs, or observing a curfew. Orders can also contain any condition that could reasonably restrict the young person/adult and encourage a law-abiding lifestyle.

Under certain circumstances, the probation order can be changed by the sentencing judge at the request of the client or, in the case of a young person, a parent or guardian, the probation officer, or the Crown Prosecutor.


In many instances, the court requires more information about a person before deciding on a sentence and may ask a probation officer to prepare a pre-sentence report. This report provides background information about the person’s character, family involvement, peer group, employment, education and any other relevant information which helps the court to arrive at a decision on sentencing.

When deciding on a sentence, in addition to the pre-sentence report, the court also considers:

  • the nature of the offence;
  • protection and consideration of the community;
  • victim impact statement; and
  • any other information readily available at the time of sentence.


Probation officers are provincial government employees with many functions, including preparing pre-sentence reports on the request of the court.

Probation officers also provide supervision, guidance and enforcement of probation orders, report violations to the police, and use motivational interviewing skills to assist the client in the development of their case plans. Probation officers also make community-based program referrals for their clients. These can include referrals to mental health and addictions and career and educational resources.

Probation officers also educate the public about the role of Probation Services, the criminal justice system, crime prevention, and the community’s role in dealing with re-integrating the youth or adult.

Probation Officers may also oversee:

Fine Option Program

The Fine Option Program allows young persons/adult offenders who are unable to pay the fine imposed on them by the court, an alternative to a custody sentence.

The Fine Option Program allows young persons/adults who are unable to pay their fine, to do volunteer work for a non-profit, community, or government organization, in lieu of a monetary payment.

Regional Probation Offices can provide more information on whether an individual is eligible to participate in the Fine Option Program.

Community Service Orders

When appropriate, the court can order someone to perform a set number of hours of community service as part of their sentence

By performing community service work, the offending person not only repays the community for the harm done but has the opportunity to find outlets in the community for developing skills, new interests and abilities. Rather than being punitive, community service focuses on responsibility and accountability.

Conditional Sentence Orders

A conditional sentence order is a court-imposed sentence in which an adult who meets the criteria to be sentenced to custody has the opportunity to serve their sentence in the community. The order contains similar conditions as a probation order, but is generally more restrictive.

Judges use conditional sentences only if they are satisfied the individual is not a danger to the community and that they do not have a history of failing to obey court orders. Failure to abide by a conditional sentence results in immediate action in which the sentencing Judge can send the individual to serve the remainder of their sentence in custody.