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Juvenile Court Officer Careers in Des Moines, Iowa

The Juvenile Court for Polk County is located in Des Moines, which has a violent crime rate nearly twice that of Iowa as a whole.  In Polk County, the number of juveniles who were prosecuted for serious crimes increased 80% during the first nine months of 2011.  This is in contrast to the situation in Iowa as a whole, which saw a decrease in the number of youths prosecuted during that period.

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How to Become a Juvenile Court Officer in Des Moines

The requirements for juvenile probation officer jobs in Polk County include having a bachelor’s degree in one of the following or a related field:

  • Criminal justice
  • Law
  • Social work

Newly hired officers learn how to become juvenile court officers in Polk County through one or two weeks of training by Iowa’s Supreme Court.  This training must be obtained before the officers start their jobs.

Juvenile Court Officers and the Juvenile Judicial System

The State Juvenile Court is separate from other courts within the state.  It handles all of the cases that involve juvenile defenders.  The careers of juvenile court officers involve working closely with juvenile court judges.  They try to identify areas that need to be strengthened and arrange appropriate community services for the youths.

Iowa has a long tradition of using correctional services based in the community for both adults and juveniles.  Such programs cost less and have a higher success rate:  juveniles are less likely to reoffend and more likely to become law abiding members of society.

Juvenile Crime in Polk County

The judicial system in Polk County is part of District 5 that encompasses a number of counties in south central Iowa.

In 2010, there were 2220 juvenile arrests in Polk County.  This was a decrease of over 24% from 2008.  The number of diversions in 2011 was 1755, which represented a decrease of over 13% from those diverted in 2008.  535 youths were detained in 2011—an increase of nearly 10% from 2008.

Two hundred youths were adjudicated delinquent in Polk County in 2006.  Nearly half of these juveniles—96—were placed on formal probation.  Most of these juveniles were male.  Of the juveniles adjudicated delinquent, 18% were female, while nearly 16% of those placed on formal probation were of this gender.