In Iowa, more than 1,300 juveniles were on formal probation under the care and guidance of 169 juvenile court officers as of 2013. In June of that year, funding was allocated to hire thirteen new juvenile court officers to better serve the youth of Iowa.
The number of youths arrested has been decreasing in recent years in Cedar Rapids. This number dropped each year from 2007 to 2010. Linn County had the lowest rate of youths reoffending of the eight most populated counties in Iowa.
Requirements and Training to Become a Juvenile Court Officer in Linn County
To become a juvenile probation officer in Linn County, a bachelor’s degree in one of the following areas is required:
- Criminal justice
- Social work
Before newly hired officers start their careers, they learn how to become juvenile court officers through formal training provided by the state’s Supreme Court. This training takes one to two weeks.
Juvenile Justice Programs in Linn County
A new building for Linn County’s Juvenile Justice Center was opened to the public in November 2011. Located in Cedar Rapids, it replaced offices that had been damaged by flooding in 2008.
Linn County officials determined in 2007 that youths who were not considered likely to reoffend had better outcomes when they were supervised in their communities rather than being placed in juvenile detention. The average number of youths in the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center decreased from slightly over 22 to less than 15 a day from fiscal year 2008 to 2009.
In addition to programs that help youths after they have been referred to the juvenile justice system, other programs help youths and provide alternatives to being on the streets. For instance, in 2012, the Cedar Rapids’ Boys and Girls Club served 250 juveniles each day during the school year and approximately 300 in the summer.
The Cedar Rapids Police Department works closely with the schools and also provides programs to keep juveniles from getting in trouble. Since these programs have been implemented, the number of referrals of youth to the police has dropped. In 2007, 1,565 youths were referred, while in 2011, the number of referrals dropped to 1,157.