Probation Officers and Juvenile Correction Officers wear many hats and work in a variety of challenging venues. Our members are tasked to provide services for every juvenile in the criminal justice system, most adult felony offenders, all county jail released Mandatory Supervision offenders, and all state prison released Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS or AB109) offenders in Kern County. We supervise over 10,000 active probationers and provide our courts and juvenile justice system services for many, many more.

As custodial caregivers, our Juvenile Correction Officers provide the needs and control of our County’s at-risk youth across three primary institutions:

Juvenile Hall - Which also houses the Pathways Female Treatment Program and a Furlough Treatment Program. Camp Erwin Owen – A six month boys camp In Kernville, CA. Kern Crossroads Facility – A secured one year male rehabilitation program.

Juvenile Correction Officers also work in multiple off-site programs including a juvenile court work program, court and community schools, and the Bridges Career Development Academy. Juvenile Correction Officers provide daily security and transport of all in-custody youth for our Juvenile Courts, medical appointments, and transportation to and from out-of-home placements throughout California and several other states. Some Juvenile Correction Officers specialize as cooks, maintenance, custodial, or grounds keepers in our institutions, and we also oversee Probation’s fleet services.

The skill set needed to deal with complex, troubled and often dangerous youth, ranging from ages 8 to 18 cannot be understated. All too common we see minors with serious mental and emotional issues who seek to harm themselves by self mutilation, punching or head butting concrete walls, or attempting suicide. Responsible to protect minors from themselves, Juvenile Corrections Officers must also protect minors from gang related assaults from other minors, and ensure no bullying, manipulation, intimidation or sexual conduct is happening between wards.

Many minors come to us addicted to drugs or alcohol and suffer from all manner of abuse and neglect. They have committed serious thefts, robberies, murderer, assault, sex offenses, and more. Dealing with a wide range of criminal sophistication and propensity for violence, Juvenile Correction Officers must also protect themselves and each other from assaultive youth. They must protect the facility from purposeful damage and tagging, maintain security from escape, keep the institutions free of drugs and weapons, and facilitate a healthy balanced routine of school, counseling, recreation, physical exercise, hygiene and diet.

Maintaining a safe controlled environment with often angry and out of control youth takes a significant amount of training, self-discipline, and talent. Our Juvenile Corrections Officers are the best in the business; changing from the role of guard, to counselor, coach, parent, mentor, rule setter, teacher – whatever is needed. Juvenile Corrections Officers successfully manage groups of up to 20 similar age, gender, and security level youth; overseeing their daily routine while ensuring each individual’s needs are met.

Deputy Probation Officers serve in many different roles. In general, they can be thought in four parts: officer of the court, police officer, counselor, and social worker.

As officers of the Superior Court, Probation Officers provide comprehensive legal reports on juvenile and adult offenders; evaluating their criminal, social, family, and work history, providing a synopsis of their crime, establishing victim restitution, advising the Court of its sentencing options and making sentencing and custody recommendations, tracking and reporting each offender’s custody credits, providing updates on offender progress, and making recommendations for the consequences of probation violations. Probation Officers must understand, apply, and articulate often complex and constantly changing sentencing laws. An essential part of the criminal justice process, Probation Officers serve all three Metro Bakersfield criminal courts and each of our five regional criminal Courts in Delano, Lamont, Mojave, Ridgecrest, and Shafter.

Field Probation Officers, or Supervision Officers, are tasked with a dual role when supervising the over 10,000 adult and juvenile probationers in Kern County; ensure offenders follow the terms and conditions of their probation and provide offenders the opportunity and encouragement to change.

Like a “Police officer,” Probation Officers make arrests, conduct searches, seize and book evidence, issue citations, conduct criminal investigations, file for criminal complaints, serve arrest warrants, and carry all the same tools as a local police officer or sheriff deputy. Probation Officers are an integral part of many specialized law enforcement Units including the Sheriff’s CAL-MET team, Bakersfield Police K-NET Unit, and special teams with the DEA and FBI. We have a Gang Intervention and Suppression Unit, dual purpose drug and apprehension K9, participate in DUI check points, multi-agency warrant sweep operations, street interdiction teams, and partner with every other law enforcement agency in Kern County. Probation Officers are responsible for thousands of arrests each year and take a significant number of guns, drugs, and dangerous offenders off the street. A Probation Officer’s police powers are targeted on probationers and not the general public. Where a police officer may deal with every member of society, from normal citizen to hardened criminal, Probation Officers manage only convicted felons; making every probation contact more intense and increasing our overall level of risk.

Like a “Counselor,” Probation Officers are required to be experts in human change dynamics. Each offender is taken through a comprehensive assessment revealing their likelihood to reoffend and identifying their most influential life needs. Officers develop personalized case plans to address those needs and connect the offender to applicable community resources and services. Part mentor, counselor, and coach, Probation Officers seek to influence their probationers to positive change. Just like Juvenile Corrections Officers, Supervision Officers must deal effectively with every level of mental and emotional dysfunction, criminal sophistication, violence, addiction, and resistance to change. They must understand every type of crime and criminal from every culture, socio-economic background, and educational level.

Like a “Social worker,” Probation Officers work in collaboration with every available community resource; government and private, religious and secular. Probation Officers are experts in networking throughout Kern County to help probationers connect to available services. While not every probationer is ready to change, those that are must find some helping hands along the way and Probation Officers are their link. From housing to help with kids, every type of counseling to basic needs like food and clothing, from education to employment, Probation Officers operate as the bridge to pro-social and positive services and people for many who have only known dysfunctional families and criminal associations. Probation Officers are agents for change, influencing probationers directly and by connecting to others who will help offenders find a new path and new identity.

Due to the complexity of the job, Juvenile Correction Officers must have at least 60 Units (two years) of college and Probation Officers must have completed their undergraduate degree. Essential to the courts and criminal justice system, Juvenile Correction Officers and Deputy Probation Officers are professionals dedicated to making our community safer. For every life they redirect, they save tax payers tens of thousands of dollars in future criminal justice and incarceration costs. Our members make a real difference everyday and facilitate positive change in many of those they supervise, impacting not only the probationer but their family as well.
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