The number of juvenile arrests reported in Indiana dropped from 38,675 in 2008 to 19,715 in 2010. Along with this drop in arrests, the number of juveniles supervised by probation departments in Indiana decreased more than 22% from 2006 to 2010.
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Marion County has been considered a model for its reforms of juvenile detention, and juvenile probation officers have been instrumental in providing assessments that helps the Initial Hearing Court to determine whether detaining a youth is in the best interest of the community and the juvenile offender.
Requirements to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Marion County
Degree – The requirements to become a juvenile probation officer in Marion County include having a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Applicants should understand the characteristics of human behavior and legal processes.
Certification – Certification is required for juvenile probation officers in Indiana, and those interested in jobs in this field are encouraged to arrange to take the certification exam. The Indiana Judicial Center administers this exam.
Training to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Marion County
Once applicants have been hired by the Marion Superior Court Probation Department, they learn how to become juvenile probation officers through training at the Indiana Justice Academy on South Meridian Street in Indianapolis. Officers are required to obtain this training within a year of employment, but the Indiana Judicial Center strongly recommends that new officers obtain this training within the first 6 months of starting their jobs.
The training is an orientation program. It familiarizes new officers with the procedures for juvenile and adult probation. In addition, trainees learn the following skills and techniques for the treatment of probationers:
Juvenile probation officers who are established in their careers may be interested in joining The Probation Officer’s Professional Association of Indiana.
Juvenile Probation Services in Marion County
Juvenile probation officers in Marion County are among the 265 employees that work for the Marion Superior Court Probation Department. Juvenile probation services operate out of the Juvenile Court complex of the Superior Court. The careers of most of these officers involve working from the local high schools emphasizing a probation model based on the schools.
While most juvenile courts just focus on probable cause, the Judge in Marion County who oversees juvenile cases determines whether or not filing charges against the youth is in the best interest of the public or the child.
An Initial Hearing Court opened in May 2007 to assess these matters. In the year following the establishment of this court, about 550 petitions were rejected. Many of these were from offenses related to school and were not violent crimes that merited detention.
Programs to divert youths who do not pose a threat to the public from detention in Marion County have been highly successful and viewed as an example to be emulated on the national level. The local initiative to reduced the number of juveniles placed in detention include:
- Curfew enhancements
- Day and evening reporting
- Home counseling
- Programs for lower offenses