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Juvenile Probation Department
A Brief Synopsis of Probation
While most would agree that serious, chronic, or violent offenders require incarceration (prison or jail), not all offenders fall into this category. Many pre-adjudicated and adjudicated adults and juveniles will safely be sentenced to community correctional options. Pre-trial diversion, probation, parole, and other community corrections or community service options can reduce recidivism and save taxpayer dollars. While the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system are created differently, many of the supervision (pretrial, probation, parole) strategies are similar.
What is probation?
Community supervision (probation) can be a complex topic. It ranges from pre-trial options to secure detention within the community. In between are probation and parole and a myriad of tools and strategies to be considered. Research is firm in documenting the requirement for risk and needs assessments targeted at criminal behavior for every offender. A valid assessment provides a critical roadmap about the security and strategies that may be most effective for the individual. Probation is a court ordered sanction that allows a person to remain in the community under the supervision of a Probation Officer. As previously mentioned, conditions of this community-based supervision can vary. It could include jail/detention time, fines, restitution, community service, or other sanctions.
Probation can also require counseling, drug/alcohol restrictions, house arrest, GPS monitoring, weapons restrictions and offender reporting to their Probation Officer. If an individual does not follow the rules of their probation, they could go back to before a judge and be sent to detention, jail or prison. Probation/Parole officers will also visit and sometimes search an offender’s residence or locations where they may be living. Probation Officers will often speak with family members and neighbors in efforts to see how an offender is doing. Officers will also sometimes contact employers of the offenders as well as any counselors to ensure that the terms and conditions contained within the probation/parole agreement and court order are being followed.
The primary goals of our probation department are:
To ensure public safety. Every citizen has the right to be free from fear of harm to their person and property.
To hold offenders accountable for their behaviors. This happens through the court process when an individual is placed on probation or when they have violated a terms or condition of probation and are summoned back to court.
To provide competency development. This is to instill skills and behaviors in offenders that will assist them to be successful later in life and to provide tools to assist them in avoiding future criminal behaviors.
What is a Probation Officer and what do they do?
A Probation Officer is someone who supervises a person who has been placed on probation. Probation is granted by a judge to allow someone to stay in a community and abide by specific rules rather than be sent to detention, (jail or prison for adults) or what is called incarceration. Incarceration is extremely costly compared to probation(approximately $85.00 per day to incarcerate juveniles compared to approximately $4.00 (four) dollars per day for probation). Keeping an offender in the community reduces costs to society by requiring an offender to work to support themselves and their families, pay restitution to their crime victims, attend therapy and counseling to address criminal behavior rather than being incarcerated. Some of a Probation Officers’ job duties include:
Monitoring compliance with court orders
Providing support and help to victims in securing restitution
Overseeing the rehabilitative efforts of the offenders
Preparing reports and recommendations for the court
Conducting offender work and home visits
Administering drug tests
Probation Officers must become competent in addressing the following issues: drug and alcohol abuse, sexual deviancy, child abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness. One of the most important qualities for a Probation Officer to have is that of flexibility and the ability to continue to adapt and learn and develop new strategies for the supervision of offenders. As of January 2012, there are approximately 7,800 juveniles in the state of Idaho on some sort of community supervision and approximately 350 in state custody. Keeping the 7,800 offenders in the community is a significant benefit to the Idaho taxpayer when you consider the costs involved when you place offenders into state custody.
Who do Probation Officers work with?
In addition to holding offenders accountable and working within the court system, Probation Officers work hand in hand with community groups and social service agencies to provide offenders and victims with the support and services they need. Probation Officers maintain partnerships with law enforcement and other justice agencies so the agencies can benefit from the expertise of each other and share information on criminal activity.
Who is on probation?
Offenders that are deemed appropriate for community supervision. Typically, adult offenders are placed on probation for one to five years. Juvenile offenders can be on probation until age twenty-one.
If you have specific questions about probation or the roles of a Probation Officer, please don’t hesitate to contact my office. Our focus is the safety and protection of the community, holding juvenile offenders accountable for their behavior and competency development of the juvenile offenders. We strive to attain this through a multifaceted approach with the courts, treatment providers, strategic partnerships with community members and families. Our goal is to use evidence based approaches to confront and minimize delinquent behaviors within the juvenile population in this community.
Fremont County Juvenile Probation is the hope and core of justice and safety in our community.
We intervene to prevent the recurrence of crime among juvenile defendants and offenders by supervising them and getting them the help they need to change the problem behavior.
The field of Community Corrections - probation and parole officers and other critical support services - is doing work that makes a critical difference in the safety of our communities and society.
We provide supervision and treatment resources to protect and help people, families and communities address the issues and problems that drive crime.
Effective intervention is a proven way to prevent recurrence among offenders and keep communities safe.
We are about:
- A force for positive change against delinquency and crime in the community
- Building bridges to community safety
- Turning lives around
- Correcting courses
- Raising hope
- Lowering crime
Who we are/what we do:
- Our field is a vital part of the nation’s justice system and the most effective solution to long term public safety. We strive to maintain and attain the capabilities and resources to bring more effective and modern approaches to quelling juvenile crime.
- Nationally, community corrections receives less than 10 percent of total correctional funding.
- Six in 10 adjudicated juvenile cases fall to probation departments on a nationwide basis
- Juvenile Court caseloads have grown and changed. In 2002, U.S. courts with juvenile jurisdiction handled an estimated 1.6 million cases in which the juvenile was charged with a delinquency offense- an offense for which an adult could be prosecuted in criminal court. Thus, U.S. juvenile courts handled more than 4,400 delinquency cases per day in 2002. In comparison, approximately 1,100 delinquency cases were processed daily in 1960.
- Probation/Parole caseloads rose 270 percent from 1980 to 2006.
- Agencies and services need funding and political and civic support to create and maintain an infrastructure to support community safety, especially now.
Juveniles face more challenges than ever before...
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