Juvenile delinquency cases in Jacksonville are handled by the Fourth District Court, which includes Duvall, Nassau, and Clay counties. Although the crime rate in this are as a whole dropped over five percent from 2011-2012, over 3,300 cases of juvenile delinquency were filed before the Fourth District Court during fiscal year 2011-2012. Nearly 70% of these cases were from Duvall County, involving the services of a number of juvenile probation officers who have careers in the area.
Requirements to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Jacksonville
Degree Requirements – To qualify for juvenile probation officer jobs in Jacksonville, applicants must be at least 19 years old and possess a bachelor’s degree. Additional requirements include having certification for First Aid and CPR. Applicants must be citizens of the U.S. and expect to undergo a background check.
Training Requirements – New employees of the Division of Juvenile Justice learn how to become juvenile probation officers through two phases of training. Phase I involves 80 hours of training at their office and involves shadowing a juvenile probation officer on the job.
PO Academy – Phase II involves 200 hours of training at the Juvenile Probation Officer Academy. The first 32 hours of training is for Protective Action Response (PAR). The remaining 168 hours is devoted to topics ranging from adolescent development to learning the Positive Achievement Change Tool (PACT) that is used to assess the risk posed by juvenile offenders.
Juvenile Justice in the Fourth District Court
While juveniles who commit serious crimes can be charged as adults in Florida, Family Courts handle most cases of juvenile delinquency. During the first eight months of fiscal year 2012-2013, the percentage of charges for delinquency offenses dropped 20% in Duval County and 10% in Clay County, while it increased 20% in Nassau County.
Research has shown that low-risk youth in Florida who were placed under the supervision of juvenile probation officers were substantially less likely to reoffend than those who were institutionalized. Over 47% of the juvenile offenders in the Fourth Circuit during fiscal year 2011-2012 were not considered serious, violent, or chronic offenders.
Youths who are detained in the Fourth District Circuit are placed at the 103 bed Duval Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Jacksonville. They stay for an average of 11 days and receive educational, health, substance abuse and mental health care.