On average, there are about 1,700 juveniles on probation at any given time in Mobile and the surrounding county, a figure that illuminates the need for qualified and motivated juvenile probation officers. Officers work at facilities such as the James T. Strickland Youth Center as a base of operations, an institution that offers a unique environment where youth offenders are placed with qualified probation officers who provide direction and resources aimed at rehabilitation.
Mobile County offers three levels of juvenile probation:
- Intensive: the youth offender and family/guardian must meet with a probation officer or court official at least once a week
- Reporting: the juvenile offender must meet at least once with a probation officer or court official
- Administrative: court-issued orders with which a young offender and family must comply
All juvenile probation officers work with their assigned youths for a minimum of sixth months.
Required Education and Training for Juvenile Probation Officers
The Mobile County Juvenile Court Probation Department requires all candidates for juvenile probation officer jobs to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a behavioral sciences field, such as:
- Cognitive science
- Social psychology
There are no requirements for previous training, though this can be beneficial in the application process when there are several qualified candidates to choose from. Upon beginning their new careers, officers will be trained in an orientation process, and must also attend 12 hours of annual training for each year of additional employment.
Juvenile probation officers in Mobile will often times find themselves at the Strickland Youth Center- a facility where juvenile offenders are placed before they are sentenced. The center has 95 beds and provides over 20 programs specifically tailored to the rehabilitative needs of the residing juveniles. Depending on the circumstances of the young offenders they may be placed in a detention facility after sentencing, or they may be able to complete community service at the Strickland Center. In either case, probation officers are involved at every step along the way, sharing the same goal as the youth center: to prevent juvenile recidivism and the transition to adult correctional facilities.
Careers as Juvenile Probation Officers
Through a process of education, training, and experience, candidates will learn how to become effective and professional Mobile County juvenile probation officers. They will act as a liaison between the juvenile justice system, the juvenile offender, and helpful community resources. As part of their jobs, officers will be proficient in:
- Conducting intake interviews of juveniles to determine the best options for rehabilitation
- Being aware of appropriate community resources for referral such as:
- Treatment programs
- Mental health counselors and group programs
- Academic counseling, tutors, and other educational resources
- Family resources
- Juvenile monitoring to ensure compliance with terms of probation
Applications for juvenile probation officers can be made through the Mobile County Personnel Board’s JobOpps Career Site. Candidates can complete an online application through a vacant probation job posting or fill out a jobs interest card to be notified of position openings.