As Michigan’s most populous city, Detroit is also the state’s largest provider of juvenile probation services and the largest employer of juvenile probation officers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, probation officer jobs are expected to grow by 18 percent by the year 2020 nationwide.
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The state of Michigan uses a progressive juvenile probation services system when compared to other states, and has a very different approach. Unlike most states, which are separated into various districts, Michigan utilizes a system that consists of independent providers spread throughout the state. While there are jurisdictions in terms of courts, the state has instead opted to place juvenile probation officers in nontraditional settings, such as churches, schools, local police stations and community centers. In total, there are more than 80 locations around the state in which juvenile probation officers operate.
Though they all work independently from each other, according to community needs, the Michigan Department of Juvenile Justice regulates all juvenile probation operations in the state.
Job Responsibilities and Duties
Because of the autonomous nature of the Michigan juvenile probation system, job duties and responsibilities vary from location to location. As such, probation officers may be authorized to make arrests and carry firearms depending on which jurisdiction they are located in.
In the Wayne County jurisdiction, of which Detroit is a part, juvenile probation officers are required to meet face-to-face with offenders under their supervision at least three times a week during the initial phases of probation. During these meetings, officers conduct interviews, provide counseling and other tasks to ensure successful completion of the probation sentence and rehabilitation.
There are also private juvenile probation programs offered by the Wayne County district, in which juveniles must complete family counseling sessions, employment training and other comprehensive programs while under the supervision of a probation officer.
Requirements for Juvenile Probation Officer Jobs in Detroit
Education – In order to be considered for juvenile probation officer jobs in Detroit, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree at minimum from an accredited college or university. There is no requirement for the field of study or major, but those with a degree in criminal justice, law, counseling, sociology, psychology, social services, human services of behavioral sciences are in the best position to become juvenile probation officers in Detroit.
Certification – All juvenile probation officers in the state are required to receive certification in counseling and casework. The certification is completed by attending a two-and-a-half day training session with the Michigan Judicial Institute, and passing a final exam administered by the department. The requirement can be bypassed in certain situations based on past work and education experience.
Training – Training differs depending on where an officer is placed in the Detroit area, and whether they will be working for a public juvenile probation services provider, or a private one. At some locations, only certification is needed, while at others training will be required before becoming a full-time officer.