North Carolina has made significant progress in the fight against juvenile crime. Since 2005, the number of delinquent complaints has sharply declined. In 2005, the state received 40,633 juvenile complaints; by 2011 there were only 33,556 complaints lodged, a 17.5 percent drop.
Although the national trend of juvenile crime is also falling, the gains made in Mecklenburg County are almost twice as large. Between 2007 and 2010 the number of juvenile crimes has fallen each year. In 2011, the juvenile crime rate was 29.72 per 1,000 youths aged six to 15. Many of these advances are a result of progressive reforms within the juvenile justice system. These programs include mental health treatment, substance abuse counseling, parenting classes, and mentoring. These new programs are a result of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 1998, which shut down outdated detention centers and implemented new training methodologies. The number of youths in detention centers totaled 1,400; this has fallen to 300 in 2012.
Requirements and Training to become a Juvenile Probation Officer in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina
In Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention is responsible for supervision of juveniles on probation. Community supervision of juveniles is the responsibility of juvenile probation and parole officers. The juvenile probation officer jobs in Mecklenburg County may be found through the North Carolina Office of State Personnel.
The starting salary for juvenile probation officers is between $37,125 and $42,000, with a possible career high of $59,604. Actual salary depends on the experience and credentials of the applicant; advanced degrees like a Master of Social Work may elevate starting salaries. The minimum requirements for these careers include:
- Must have U.S. citizenship
- Must possess a valid North Carolina driver’s license
- Must have a bachelor’s degree in one of the following majors
- Correctional services
- Criminal justice
- Social work
- Must have one year of experience in probations or parole
- Must be able to pass a background investigation
- Must be able to pass a drug test
- Must live within 30 miles of the assigned county
- Must be able to use a firearm
- Must be able to complete self-defense training
Applicants interested in finding out how to become juvenile probation officers in Mecklenburg County should possess the following skills in order to be competitive during the hiring process:
- Strong verbal and oral communication
- Superior organizational and critical thinking
- Ability to operate computers for maintaining records and databases
- Ability to make independent decisions
- Ability to work with court officials, juveniles, police officers and community leaders
Newly hired juvenile probation and parole officers must complete 217 hours of pre-employment training. Courses will include topics like
- Controls and restraints
- Defensive techniques
- Tactical approaches to drug searches
Upon completion of the training program, recruits must pass a written exam and meet qualification standards with a handgun.