Juveniles were responsible for over 21% of the crimes for which arrests were made in DeKalb County in 2011. As a result, DeKalb County juvenile probation/parole officers were involved in over 1,400 cases that year.
233 youths from DeKalb County were committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice during 2011, an 11% decrease from the year before. This rate is nearly double that of the average county in Georgia. The rate of recidivism for delinquent youths in DeKalb County after one year was 33% in 2009.
Becoming a Juvenile Probation/Parole Officer in DeKalb County
Those seeking jobs as juvenile probation/parole officers in DeKalb County must have one of the following:
- A bachelor’s degree from an institution that is accredited
- Two years of experience of reporting either
- Criminal history records
- Court records of criminal proceedings
- Two years of experience as a certified peace officer
Applicants who have one of the following will get preference:
- One year of experience managing the cases of offenders or their families
- Direct experience with juvenile offenders in a detention facility or group home
Candidates who advance through the hiring process can expect fingerprinting and a background check of their driving and criminal history.
Training to Become a Juvenile Probation/Parole Officer in DeKalb County
Newly hired staff learn how to become juvenile probation/parole officers in DeKalb County through several phases of training. First, they undergo 40 hours of pre-service basic training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center. After this, they start work as juvenile probation/parole officers.
Within the first year of employment, officers must undergo 120 hours of orientation. In subsequent years, juvenile probation/parole officers must undergo 24 hours of training annually.
Those who wish to advance in their careers can apply to become juvenile probation/parole specialists II. To do this, they have to take the three-hour criminal justice examination administered by the state and score at least 70%.
The Juvenile Justice System in Georgia
Georgia’s Division of Juvenile Justice handles offenders who are up to 21 years old. Following the rise in homicides perpetrated by juveniles in Georgia from the 1980s through the mid 1990s, the state of Georgia cracked down on juvenile crime by institutionalizing many of its juvenile offenders. Over 25,600 youths were referred to Juvenile Court in 2011, while more than 8,500 were referred to Adult Court.
The state spends over $90,000 a year on each youth who is incarcerated. Research has found that detaining youths who have only committed low-level crimes increased their recidivism rate. Approximately 65% of those released in Georgia ended up re-offending and being returned to jail.
In 2013, Georgia instituted House Bill 242 to overhaul Georgia’s juvenile crime system. This bill was passed unanimously by the House and was signed into law by the governor in May 2013. It is designed to separate low-level offenders, who will receive treatment in the community, from those juveniles who commit violent crimes. It is predicted to both save money and result in better long-term outcomes for many of Georgia’s juvenile offenders.