Juveniles that are and have been in the court systems are beginning to enumerate. The numbers of theses juveniles are rising, and there are prime key factors that lead to this continuing problem. In the present paper the Probation Officer may be a key factor to the roles that the Probation Officer plays in their life. It is known that Probation Officers have a lot going on with their professional lives and the numbers of Juvenile Delinquents keep rising. The following literature reviews will give some key examples to why the rise of juveniles in the court systems, and why probation officers may have a key part in the factor. In an article by the Houston Chronicle that there needs to be more common sense when it comes to the juvenile justice. “The Harris County, TX courts made a 37 page report on the problems that they have in the halls. Such problems included the separation of juveniles according to disabilities to serve them better (Rogers, 2010). Another key factor in the report that was stated is how the role models were dressed. There was another problem, the rule book was only in English, and therefore they are updating the rule book to also contain the Spanish version, according to Rogers, 2010.
“The development of a uniform, objective approach to detention decision-making should be a high priority,” as said by Rogers, this is referring to the upgrades to Harris County Juvenile system. The standards that have been in place often sent some kids to the detention center if they missed a week of school, while others who should have been sent to the hall were sent home because there was no room to house the juvenile. Los Angeles County recently have been convicted of crimes or disciplined in the recent years according to Fiske & Winton, 2010. LA County has a high rate of youth incarceration. “Los Angeles County probation officers are responsible for protecting 3,000 youths in 21 halls and camps, one of the nation’s largest juvenile justice systems”, (Fiske & Winton, 2010). The population in the juvenile halls is down thirty-two percent compared ot 2006. This is due to changing the booking criteria on juvenles. “As for kids who were lower risk or did not present problems to the community, we looked for alternatives other than incarceration such as community supervision by a probation officer, home supervision, and electronic monitoring,” (Vilacorte, C., 2011).
There was aOne incident had included a Probation Officer having sex with three of the youth where she had worked. In another incident, a Probation Officer directed five other girls to beat up another for taking a cell phone. This particular department has been under federal investigation due to failing to prevent report and document child abuse (Fiske& Winton, 2010). There has been a ten step plan that is newly being implemented for the sake of the probation officers duties and the youth of the county. Alameda County Probation Department lists some definite problems in the juvenile probation department. It lists the alternative detention programs that will focus more on the particular juveniles that are in need and help them, versus sitting in a cell and conjuring up ideas what they can find to do. When the juveniles do this, more ideas are negative, as they have lived their lives this way, so the ideas are troublesome.
In this environment they are kept busy, and the probation officer has a minimal surveillance of the client. According to Alameda County website, some of the programs are weekend trips and some are an inpatient treatment, which will decrease the time the probation officer is with this certain individual, and could give more time to another child. A few of the different camps are the weekend trainings, in which there are three different ways to be sent here. In one way, the probation officer can send the juvenile there for informal weekend training. There is also two other weekend trainings that are ordered by the courts to complete. The main Juvenile hall is capable of being home to 299 juveniles. This is a secured detention center that teaches the juveniles the education they need, and since the population is so high, there is a risk assessment that is completed upon coming to the hall, and it needs to make sure this is the right place for the juvenile, and they are receiving the right resources for them to grow on.
There is a camp that is call Camp Wilmont Sweeney, in which the camp is unlocked, and is designed to have the juveniles sent back into the community to be productive and use what they have learned in the camp to learn from their mistakes and not to repeat them. In a document devised by Shay Bilchik, 1996, a survey was sent to Probation Officers throughout the United States. It was sent out to find out the problems of the Juvenile systems, and address the needs of the juveniles in the country. Many of the problems addressed were pertaining to job in whole. Problems stated were not enough staff, there were limited resources for the Probation Officers, and they had too many cases for the work that they do. From comparison of cases throughout the United States, New York is understaffed compared to Chicago, and even though there is an age difference in the jurisdictions between the states, the older juveniles also portrays a need for more probation officers.
“Probation may be used as front ends of the line for first time offenders are juveniles that are low risk offenders. They an also be used as a back end, when someone is in confinement for a more serious offender (Bilchik, 1996). The duties vary in the probation are from state to state, but for the most part, there are key function that are there to complete, such as the intake screening of the juvenile, presentence of investigation of juveniles and court ordered supervision f the juvenile offenders, Bilchik, 1996). Another role in the part of juvenile probation officers is that they cannot have a cap on how many cases they have such as other places my stop taking people after so many have come through the door.
There are many cases the safety is at stake when the probation officer has to meet with the juveniles. The on the job safety has risen to levels of showing that this profession is getting dangerous. As reported through the survey, almost one-third of the probation officers had been assaulted sometime during their career. In the Los Angeles County, there have been some legal groups that have gathered and imposed a lawsuit against the county for not providing education to the juveniles in the county with the largest facility.
The education is needed for juveniles to have when they are released from the detention centers, and get into the community for jobs and higher education. The lawsuit claimed that there has been more worksheets given to the delinquents and not enough classroom time given and there was no help given to those who would ask. “The lawsuit is the result of a months-long investigation by the legal groups and details one recent instance of a young man, incarcerated in county probation camps for most of his high school years, who was awarded a high school diploma despite being unable to read or write”, (ACLU, 2010). The Challenger center which is one of the detention centers located in Los Angeles County, CA, has about 50 students. I thas been the target of an ongoing investigation for maltreatment and poor supervision of the students attending the place. According to Tony Cook, 2008, Juvenile probation officers are the Jekylls and Hydes of the legal community, hybrids of cop and social worker, enforcer and buddy”.
The newspaper article looked at a former colleiate boxing champ, Kevin Eppenger took on a juvenle probation position. The courts and jusdges as well as county officials are concerned over the rise in the juvenile courts in Clark COunty. He stated that “Eight to 10 years ago you could actually be a role model to them, get a burger.” And now, he holds more than 70 juvenile cases, and the casses are thicker than the ones he used tohave. “The number of juveniles probation officers supervise has swelled from an average of 39 per officer in 2003 to 56 in 2007”(Cook, 2008). And today many of the probation officers have more than seventy cases each. There used to be a time when the juvenile that didn’t show up for a meeting was searched for at the arcade or other places. Kevin Eppenger has no time to do that as he is in court, with the juveniles or admitting new juvenile to the probation department. He says it is very hard to build a relationship with the juveniles doing business this way.
Jeff Jones is another probation officer that works in Clark County as a probation officer. He says that his case load is near eighty, and he has actually lost count. “I stopped counting,” Jeff Jones said. “If you worry about the numbers, you become ineffective.” There used to be personal meeting with the probation officer and the juvenile, now they have to meet with three or four of the kids at one time. They said they don’t get too personal during the meetings, like they would on a one- to – one. And to see the juveniles outside of the office is a rareity now for the two probation officers. To have two hours with a juvenile each month is saying a lot, and they have only hired two additional probation officers since 2003.
“In Washoe County, probation officers average about 50 cases. Officers in Arizona’s two most urban counties — Pima County, which includes Tucson, and Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix — carry 30 and 34 cases, respectively. And in Utah, Salt Lake County probation officers average about 25 cases”, (Cook, 2008). This is getting tough for theprobation officers, as most of the juvenles are repeating offenses while on probaton. This also has an impact on the county, as the department asks for funds to hire some more probation officers, but it is up to the budget whether or not they are able to hire the ones they want.
The term “kids these days” has changed its perspective of what it used to be. Ten years ago, kids were more afraid to carry a gun and get caught, whereas now they are carrying knives and guns and are having no fear in using them. The kids have no sense of consequences, and the family value that used to be, has gone down. This also makes the jobs of the people working with the kids more of a challenge, as they try to stay a step ahead and teach the kids. Conclusion:
The numbers of juveniles that are standing in court rooms, and spending time in detention centers, are rising. It is the profession of the probation officer to struggle to deal with the troubled youth. There are many issues that are going on with the youth, but there are also issues that are happening with the probation officer and the career they are in. Throughout the United States there are issues that are happening in the detention Halls, and through the Probation Departments. The juveniles are the ones that are losing out, although it is the choice of the juvenile to cause the trouble that they are in. This is what is called a double edged sword, where it could possibly be both the probation and juveniles, why there are problems happening in the system.
In the research project, it is imperative to think that alone the probation officer can do such things as hiring more staff to assist with all the more juveniles that are entering and remaining in the system. Although in the light it would be wise to stay proactive with the youth, and find what is driving the youth to be like they are, and end up in the courts.
In sightfulness, it is plain to see that society play a bill toll on the juveniles lives. It is also the media that will show the curiousity of kids, they will try what they see, or they just think they are invincible to whatever approaches them. In some other kids it is the environment that they get involved in,, such as parents going through a divorce, what could be happening at home, and also some friends that the child may have. Whatever the case for the rising amounts of misappropriation in the probation department, it could also have something to do with the economy of the child for the hard job of the PO’s.
• Juvenile Delinquency: The Core, 3e, Larry J. Siegel, Brandon C. Welsh – © Cengage Learning
• This book had certain things to say in reference to the topic. Chapter 14 of this book is about the probation of juveniles, and the system
• Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention,
• This book had certain things to say in reference to the topic. The website is related to Juveniles and Probation
• Juvenile Transfers to Criminal Courts
• This book had certain things to say in reference to the topic. It gives scenarios of Juveniles whose lives have been spent in delinquency.
• Alameda County Probation Department
I chose this article, as it lists some problems in the juvenile probation department. I am gathering information that is clearly relevant between the information that I am gathering.
• Records reveal problems in LA county juvenile probation office This newspaper article lists some of the mishaps that were found in the Los Angeles juvenile probation office. This information could be pertinent as this is what I am doing my final report on.
• Houston chronicle reports that there needs to be more common sense when it comes to the juvenile justice. The Harris county courts made a 37 page report on the problems that they have in the halls. Such problems include the separation of juveniles according to disabilities to serve them better. Another is how the role models are dressed.
Alameda County Probation Department
American Civil Liberties Union. (2010). Landmark Federal Class-Action Lawsuit Charges Los Angeles County with Failure to Educate Youth in Probation Camps http://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/landmark-federal-class-action-lawsuit-charges-los-angeles-county-failure-educate-yout
Cook, T. (2008, April 28). Rising Cases Keep Probation Officers from Involvement in Children’s Lives. Las Vegas Sun. http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/apr/27/rising-caseloads-keep-probation-officers-involveme/
Hennessy-Finke, M. & Winton, R. (2010, February 21). Records reveal problems in L.A. County juvenile probation office. LAtimes.com http://www.goldsteinlawgroup.com/documents/ProblemsInLACountyJuvenileProbationOffice.pdf
Juvenile Delinquency: The Core, 3e, Larry J. Siegel, Brandon C.Welsh – © Cengage Learning
Juvenile Transfers to Criminal Courts in the 1990’s, Wilson, 2000. http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/181301.pdf
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/probation/index.html
Rogers, B. (2010, January 27). Study: Common sense needed at juvenile hall. Houston Chronicle http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6838975.html
Courtney from Study Moose
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