Jackson County is located along the southeastern border of Mississippi, near the state of Alabama. As the county is in close proximity to the metropolitan areas of Mobile, Alabama and Biloxi, Mississippi, it has a very high number of juvenile offenders on probation.
According to a report filed in 2011, Jackson County has the highest number of juveniles on probation in the state, with 1,068. Most of the probation charges are related to disorderly conduct and minor assaults.
Juvenile Probation Services in Jackson County
The state of Mississippi is composed of seven judicial districts that deal with juvenile probation in their region. All juvenile probation officer jobs, or youth service counseling as it is known in the state, are supervised by the Human Services, Youth Services and Community Services division of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
There are also juvenile probation institutions throughout the state, which house juvenile offenders awaiting probation sentencing and house juveniles that have repeatedly violated their probation, or are considered in need of rehabilitation outside of society.
Juvenile probation officer jobs in Jackson County involve operating more in the realm of personal counselors and case workers, rather than the more traditional role of probation officer. The counselors provide training in regards to personal development, rehabilitation and also provide referrals to ensure that juveniles complete their sentences successfully. The primary responsibilities of counselors involve compiling data, filing progress reports with judges, family members and other officials, testifying in court, making probation sentence recommendations and performing individual and group counseling sessions for juveniles under their supervision.
Master’s Degree Requirement for Youth Service Counselor Positions in
In order to become a juvenile probation officer serving as a youth counselor in Jackson County, applicants must first meet a strict set of requirements and basic qualifications. One of the most important qualifications is in regards to education experience, as all applicants are required to have a master’s degree in counseling, psychology, social work, criminal justice, sociology or another field of study related to behavioral sciences.
If an applicant does not have a master’s degree, but feels they have a combination of work, volunteer or internship experience and education experience, they can send a written document to the Personnel Board in order to get the master’s degree requirement waived. In many cases, the board will waive the requirement if the applicant can demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and competencies to perform the job successfully.
Training for Youth Services Counselors
Once the hiring and interview process is completed, entry-level youth service counselors are then required to complete 120 hours of comprehensive training with the department. Training involves how to effectively counsel and communicate with at-risk youth, how to conduct interviews and investigations and how to monitor and supervise juveniles while on probation.
After the training, counselors are then required to receive six weeks of on-the-job training with a employee that has worked at the department for a significant amount of time. After the first year of employment, counselors are then required to complete 40 to 60 hours of additional training every year that they are employed as a youth service counselor.