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Linn County Juvenile Department


LINN COUNTY JUVENILE DEPARTMENT OVERVIEW


   The Juvenile Department is responsible for processing all law enforcement referrals involving juveniles in Linn County alleged to have committed criminal traffic, game, boating violations, non-criminal violations (alcohol and marijuana), misdemeanors and felony offenses.  There are two divisions of the department providing a tiered approach from a Formal Accountability Agreement (Community Programs Unit), to the formal court process (Probation Unit) with graduated sanctions.  

   

   The Juvenile Department staff is a team of highly trained professionals specializing in juvenile corrections.  Staff members have backgrounds in adolescent and child development, mental health disorders, behavior disorders, cognitive skill development, sex offender behavior and treatment, fire setting behavior and treatment, gang behaviors and interventions as well as many other areas.  A number of staff have specialized in certain areas receiving extensive training and have developed expertise in that area.  The Department also has an on-site Probation Officer at the Albany High Schools and an Intervention Specialist working with youth at the Albany Middle Schools.  


   A supervisor assigns cases based on the youth’s criminal history, current offense and level of risk as identified on a validated risk assessment tool.  Once assigned, a Probation Officer addresses the youth’s needs and criminogenic risk factors (risk areas that are most likely to lead to further delinquent acts).  Youth which score High Risk on this assessment are further assessed with the Oregon Youth Authority Risk Needs Assessment, a more comprehensive assessment, used to develop a case plan identifying short and long term goals to reduce each identified risk factor.


   The Department has implemented a risk-based model of service as a way to focus available resources on the population of youth offenders most likely to commit another crime.  With the economic climate the way it is we must make sure the limited resources we have are focused on the most disruptive population. Probation Officers are responsible for preparing all court documents, including disposition reports which include recommendations to the Judge and orally presenting cases to the Court.  A youth found in violation of probation may be taken into custody by the Probation Officer who schedules the matter for a hearing and the court process starts over with the new charge of a probation violation.

 

   The Juvenile Department also operates a 20 bed juvenile detention center in partnership with Benton County, who pays part of the cost based upon the number of beds contracted each year, currently 4 beds for the ‘13-’14 fiscal year.  The Linn-Benton Detention Center is located in a section of the larger Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility operated by the Oregon Youth Authority serving females in need of long term incarceration.  


   There are three ways that youth come to detention.  They can be placed by law enforcement officers under certain statutory requirements; they can be placed in detention by the Court as a result of a hearing or placed there by a Probation Officer for a probation  violation.  A Probation Officer supervises all youth released from detention who are placed on a conditional release agreement. They may place them back in detention if they are found to be in violation of a condition of their release agreement.


   Our juvenile department delivers services consistent with the Balanced and Restorative Justice model of juvenile justice, meaning case response addresses community protection, accountability and competency development of the youth.  Restorative justice is a cost-effective criminal justice approach that is based on reconciliation, restoration, healing and rehabilitation.


   Every youth referred for a criminal act, and either admits or is found to have committed a crime following a hearing, is required to complete community service hours on one of three work crews.  The crew that youth complete their hours on depends on the act and the youth’s risk score.  Youth learn valuable work ethics and vocational skills while working on a crew and have even been able to use the work crew as a job reference on a resume.  The Department has developed a special crew called the Experiential Work Crew, meaning the department provides an extra staff person who goes on the crews with the youth and provides life skills training throughout the day.  All youth are ordered to pay restitution in full and if not completed by the end of the probation period is collected through a money award ordered by the court and often collected by the State Department of Revenue by wage or other garnishment.  Juveniles are also expected to complete victim offender mediation for non-person-to-person crimes whenever there is a willing identifiable victim.