Juvenile parole officers in New Jersey have peace officer status, have the authority to make arrests when they see fit and are required to carry firearms at all times while on duty.
The state of New Jersey structures their juvenile justice system in a way that is unique from the rest of the US:
- The main priority of employees with the New Jersey Department of Law & Justice, Office of the Attorney General Juvenile Justice Commission is to monitor parole operations.
- The responsibility of the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts is to supervise all juvenile probation operations within the state.
The two divisions perform different tasks, but have the same set of employment requirements, which is a process that differs from the way most states operate.
The Juvenile Justice Commission operates in five offices around the state, and sponsors four different day program operations, while the probation section of juvenile services is organized by 15 vicinages throughout the state, which typically cover an entire county.
Education and Experience Requirements for Juvenile Probation and Parole Officers
To first be considered for a juvenile parole or probation officer position with the state of New Jersey, applicants must meet basic requirements that include education and experience. In New Jersey, juvenile parole and probation officers are required to have a bachelor’s degree at minimum from an accredited university. It is preferred that the bachelor’s degree be in the subject areas of criminal justice, sociology, psychology, social work or any of the other behavioral sciences.
While there is no work experience requirement, if an applicant has experience in a related field, or has experience volunteering for youth-oriented organizations, they will be more likely to be considered to move on in the application and recruitment process.
Training to Become a Juvenile Probation and Parole Officer in New Jersey
During the first year of employment, New Jersey juvenile probation and parole officers are required to complete 40 hours of training classes. The training classes focus on building relationships, interpersonal communication, community outreach, problem solving, de-escalating situations, firearm use and handling, public safety, arrest tactics and defensive tactics and one-on-one counseling with at-risk youths. The training is meant to strengthen and teach juvenile probation and parole officers the skills that are needed in order to rehabilitate at-risk youth and lead them away from a life of crime.
Additional Training After the First Year of Employment
Juvenile probation and parole officers in New Jersey are not required to undergo any additional training after the first year of employment, which is unique amongst states in the country. But, since juvenile probation and parole officers in the state carry firearms, they will be required to re-qualify their firearm certification every year while employed with the state.