When a person is sentenced to probation, under the supervision of a probation officer, the probation officer is required to keep detailed records. In many states, the individual who is the subject of the probation records has a right to inspect them.

For example, in Massachusetts, every individual who is on probation has a right to inspect their probation records, and, if practicable, copy them. The individual inspecting the records, if he or she believes them to be inaccurate, can formally petition the probation agency to have the records changed.

Most other states have laws which are similar to the federal Freedom of Information Act, which allows public records to be disclosed for inspection upon request. However, probation records are not public records, so requests under these state laws, and under federal law, are limited to the person who is the subject of the records.