Juvenile and Adult Probation and
Case Planning: Principles and
Judge Tom C. Rawlings
Juvenile Courts, Middle Judicial Circuit
State of Georgia
Georgia’s Middle Judicial Circuit
Five “Persistent Poverty”
Counties in East Central
• Poverty rates > 20% over
Not within any
2,300 square miles with
The Juvenile Court’s Jurisdiction
1. Children under 17 accused of a
2. Children under 18 alleged to be
deprived (neglected or abused) and
who need state protection.
3. Children under 18 accused of a
4. Children accused of a crime but who
are incompetent to stand trial
Juvenile Crime by Type, Georgia
Person Property Drugs
Pers Comm. Mary Mathis, MPH, Mercer University School of Medicine, Sept 2004
Role of the Juvenile Court in Criminal
To Treat and Rehabilitate the Child
To Ensure Community Safety
To Hold the Child Accountable
Role of the Juvenile Court in Foster
Primary responsibility of the Court
and State to foster children:
reunification of the family
To accomplish the goal of stable
families requires fit parents
For parents with mental illness and
substance abuse, effective mental
health services are needed
Methodology: The Treatment Plan
Case Plan or Probation Plan
• Probation: After Adjudication of
• Case Plan: After neglected child placed
in foster care.
Formal or Informal?
DIVERT WHEN POSSIBLE!
Most youth who are referred to
juvenile court never return on a
Properly-designed informal response
systems are faster than the formal
adversarial system and can be more
Don’t waste valuable resources on
less serious offenders!
Initiating the Court Process
Is this a diversion case or a formal
Reasons for diverting:
• Most kids never return to court, so why
waste valuable resources on them?
• Properly-designed informal response
systems are faster
Consider diversion for every status
offender, first-time misdemeanant
Separate definite formals from
Review remaining for possible
Discuss possibility of informal
treatment with victim
See if youth and family are willing
If youth accepts responsibility,
determine appropriate sanction
Properly done, they offer:
• Cost Savings
• Community Cohesion
• They employ an objective scoring
• They use items that can be easily and
reliably measured, meaning that results
are consistent both across staff and
• They are statistically associated with
future criminal behavior so the system
can accurately identify offenders with
different risk levels
Why is it important?
• “A youth with delayed cognitive
development who must wait a
significant period of time between
offense and consequence may not be
able to sufficiently connect the two
• Uncertainty increases anxiety and
impacts the sense of fairness and
predictability of the juvenile process
All hearings should be held as close
to the offense date as possible
If youth is adjudicated, the response
(disposition) must be swift and
services readily available
Must respect and wisely use
Timing of the hearing?
• Juvenile’s record, both delinquent and
• Interview of youth, custodians, etc.
• Living and work situations of custodians
• Identification of significant individuals
who influence youth
• School history, talents
Approximately 95% of cases are
disposed of through plea bargaining.
May involve probation with certain
conditions, or a suspended sentence
• Why family and youth believe child
broke the law.
• Information from victim regarding his or
her relationship to the offender.
• Information from service providers.
• Protection of community issues
• Attitude of youth and family toward the
The Probation Option
When a Court sentences an offender,
it retains in most cases the right to
“probate” or suspend a portion of, or
all of, prison time based on the
offender’s willingness to comply with
restrictions and treatment plan.
For Juvenile Delinquent, May Last up to
• Intensive Probation
• Day Treatment
• Evening Reporting
• Drug testing
• Remaining away from certain places
For Adults, may last as long as the prison
sentence could last.
ALWAYS REVIEW IF:
• Child remains in community and child:
Has committed a serious offense and is
receiving court-ordered services;
Youth is on a waiting list for court-ordered
The Court has questions about the follow-
through of the parent, youth, or service
provider and believes further monitoring is
Questions to ask:
• Are youth, parent, and custodian
• Are probation and services providers
doing what they’ve been asked to do?
• Is child compliant?
• Are changes to treatment plan needed?
• What sort of reinforcement, positive or
negative, is needed?
How to Review?
• Progress reports, progress conferences
• Case staffings
• Actual court hearings
• Family Conferencing?
When to Review?
• Within first 60 days and every 90 days
Re-Entry for youth placed out of the
• Reentry Planning
• Educational Situation
• Funding for Placement
Final Reentry Plan
• Assessment of Risk to Reoffend
• Where’s youth going to live?
• What aftercare steps should be taken?
• What about school?
• What about protecting community and
• Behavioral Contract with Youth spelling
• How long will youth be monitored?
• How has youth complied as well as not
• Have parents/custodians complied?
• What’s youth’s family and educational
• What change in possible sanctions,
incentives, or restrictions is indicated by
• The Court always has the power to
modify its sentence of probation if
evidence proves the offender has not
• The Court may revoke all or part of the
offender’s probation or add sanctions,
including temporary detention.
Foster Care Case Plan
Functions much like a probation plan,
but applies to the parents of a child.
If the Parents want to keep their
child or have their child returned to
them, they must comply
Failure to comply can result in both
termination of parental rights and
• Drug Courts
• Mental Health Courts