Tom Green County Juvenile Probation
When a child (ages 10 - 17) is referred to the department, a probation officer makes a decision, generally based on the Progressive Sanctions Model, about what the supervision level should be. There are a two types of probation, Deferred Probation and Formal Probation. The department also has the discretion on certain minor offenses to talk with the child and family about choices and offer the child another chance to succeed in the community without supervision. This is called Supervisory Cautioning the child.
One type of probation is Deferred Probation or Deferred Prosecution. Deferred Probation is generally a six month program where the child's formal probation is postponed. This type of probation is the least intensive probation available to the department. If the child can successfully complete the deferred probationary period without getting into more trouble, as well as completing various other tasks that are agreed upon by the probation officer and family, the charge will be considered closed out and taken care of. If the child should be referred again while still on their Deferred Probation, or not be able to successfully complete other tasks, the charge (original and supplimental) can be sent to the District Attorney's Office for a petition to be filed. A petition is when the District Attorney files formal charges on the child, which must be heard in the District Courts. If the child is adjudicated for the offense(s) listed on the petition, the child is placed on the next level of supervision, Formal Probation.
Formal Probation is when the child and/or family need extra support. All Formal Probations generally last for at least one year from the date of the Disposition Hearing. There is Formal Probation with and without the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP).
Formal Probation without ISP is the lowest level of supervision provided to those who are adjudicated for an offense and placed on Formal Probation. As stated before, the time frame for Formal Probation without ISP is generally one year. During that time frame, the child will be monitored by a probation officer at the child's home, school, and work to ensure compliance with the Court's Orders of Probation. The child will be required to complete community service, and may also be required to pay restitution. The child's parents will be responsible for ensuring that their child attends all ordered activities as well as to provide support to the child to help achieve successful completion of the probationary period. A child may also be removed from their home and placed at a residential treatment facility for a period of 30 days up to one year.
Formal Probation with ISP is the highest level of supervision provided to those who are adjudicated for an offense and placed on Formal Probation. Children have to have a serious single offenses, multiple adjudications, serious violations of their probation, or returning from placement to qualify for ISP. An ISP officer will be assigned to those who qualify for this type of supervision. An ISP officer is a probation officer who will check on the child at various times during the day and night to monitor compliance.
The Juvenile Probation Department also provides a service to Jr. High Students called the Education Supervision and Prevention Program (ESP). ESP is a program designed to reach those Jr. High students who the school faculty feel may benefit from a program that helps build a support network for that child. The ESP program is held after school during the school year. There are two different groups during each school year, one beginning and ending during the first semester, and the other beginning and ending in the second semester. The ESP program provides the youths of their group with a safe adult to talk to about problems that they may be experiencing as well as providing them with a boost in their self esteem and support during any crisis that may arise.
For more information, visit the Texas Juvenile Justice Department's Website.