The way in which juvenile probation works in Montana is very different from the way it works in many of the states in the country. Rather than having a separate court system for juveniles, the juvenile offenders in Montana are sentenced in the same courts as adults, but instead it is referred to as Youth Court. The 22 district courts in the state are also the 22 youth courts used to try juveniles and grant them probation when needed.
The juvenile probation system employs one chief juvenile probation officer per district court, a set of probation officers for each district and a staff of administrative and human resource support. Overall, there are 37 field offices for juvenile offenders, with at least one located in all of the districts. There are also additional smaller offices in the more populated areas of the state like Billings, Helena and Butte. The entire state’s juvenile probation program is supervised by the Montana Department of Corrections Youth Community Corrections Bureau.
Meeting Education and Experience Requirements in Montana
Despite being broken up into districts and field offices, the Montana Department of Corrections Youth Community Corrections Bureau requires that all juvenile probation officers in the state have at least a bachelor’s degree. The bachelor’s degree must be in the field of human services and the applicant must also have prior work, volunteer or internship experience with a youth-oriented organization.
Training for Juvenile Probation Officer Positions in Montana
Juvenile probation officers in Montana are required to complete a standard training program during their first year of employment with the Montana Department of Corrections Youth Community Corrections Bureau. During the first year of employment, juvenile probation officers are required to complete 40 hours of training.
The training includes psychology, criminal justice, behavioral science, sociology, social work and working with the community, among many other things. The purpose of the training is to ensure that the employee has the basic skills to perform the job successfully and help rehabilitate juvenile offenders and make them productive members of society rather than lifelong criminals.
Additional Training for Juvenile Probation Officers in Montana
Upon completion of the first year of work and training as a juvenile probation officer in Montana, the employee is then required to complete additional, ongoing annual training, which is meant to strengthen the skills and techniques learned during the first year of employment.
The additional training standards require that juvenile probation officers in Montana complete 16 hours of training each year that they employed by the state. There may be additional training required as legislative changes may be made to the juvenile probation system in the state.