Juvenile probation officers in Middlesex County, New Jersey are employed by the Probation Division of the New Jersey Superior Court, Family Part. Unlike other highly populous counties in the state, Middlesex has a limited problem with juvenile crime. In 2010, Middlesex County had 2,287 juveniles in custody with 1,643 of these referred to juvenile court or probation.
Juvenile Crime in Middlesex County, New Jersey
In 2007, Middlesex County reported 2,912 total juvenile arrests, with 171 as a result of violent crimes and 314 due to drugs. Despite being the second most populous county in the state, Middlesex was 10th in the state for total juvenile arrests. Middlesex was also 20th in the state with an arrest rate of 35.2 arrests per 1,000 youths ages ten to 17. With a violent crime rate of 2.1 per 1,000 youths, Middlesex was 11th in the state. Ranked 21st in the state for drug arrest rates, this county had only 3.8 juveniles per 1,000 arrested for drug related offenses.
Most importantly, Middlesex County has made significant progress in recent years. In 1998, there were 4,052 total juvenile arrests, while in 2003, this figure had declined to 3,172. Compared to the 2287 arrests in 2007, this indicates a decline of 43.56 percent over a twelve year period. Much of this decline is related to diversionary programs that seek to eliminate habitual criminal behavior following the first offense. One of the most effective programs is designated Clean Slate and seeks provide enduring life lessons about drugs, alcohol and gang involvement.
How to Become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Middlesex County, New Jersey
Level I – The New Jersey Superior Courts, Family Part provides four tiers for juvenile probation officers. Level I is designated as trainee/investigator jobs. These jobs allow entering officers to obtain an introduction to the juvenile probation profession. In order to qualify for Level I juvenile probation officer jobs in Middlesex County, applicants must possess the following qualifications:
- Have at least two years of casework experience in
- Data gathering
- Report preparation
- Interviewing offenders
- Socioeconomic data collection; or
- Two years of collegiate study
Level II – Level II is for basic juvenile probation officers who must possess a bachelor’s degree in a social or behavioral science, or have at least 24 credit hours in one or more of these fields.
Level III – Level III is for Senior Probation Officers who must have a bachelor’s degree and two years of professional casework experience. In some cases, a master’s degree in social or behavioral science may be substituted for one of these years of experience.
Level IV – Level IV is designated as Master Probation Officers who must possess a at least four years of casework experience.
All probation officers must have a valid driver’s license and complete 40 hours of pre-employment training. Annually, juvenile probation officers must re-qualify in the use of firearms to maintain their peace officer status.