The juvenile justice system tries to keep the community safe AND do what’s best for the minor who broke the law.
To do both, the Juvenile Probation Department in Santa Clara County has these special programs for minors who don’t have to stay locked up:
- Community Release Program (CRP)
- First Offender Close Up Services (FOCUS)
- Alternative Placement Academy (APA)
- Electronic Monitoring Program (EMP)
- Evening Reporting Center (ERC)
If the minor is released to this program, he or she will be strictly supervised. A counselor will call the minor every day. The counselor is there to support the minor and the family. This counselor talks to the minor’s school, boss and parents. Then, the counselor tells the Court how the minor is doing and if the minor is obeying the conditions for release. In some cases, the minor will be electronically monitored (EMP). (See EMP, below.)
At the disposition hearing, the judge will decide if electronic monitoring will be part of the minor’s probation conditions.
FOCUS stands for “First Offender Close up Services”. This special program deals with minors who are at risk because of:
- Their age,
- Doing badly in school,
- Family problems,
- Drug abuse, or
- Breaking the law.
These factors can put a minor at risk of being a repeat offender. The Court can send these minors to the FOCUS program. FOCUS will look at the minor and the minor’s family. Then, they will make a plan to help the minor and the family.
A team of people meets every week to talk about how the minor is doing and what the minor and the family needs. A probation officer from the FOCUS program will supervise the minor closely until probation ends.
In some cases, a youth can wear an electronic monitoring device instead of being sent to Juvenile Hall. This can happen before, during, and/or after the case is decided in court. Youth wearing these devices are supervised by a probation group counselor.
There are 2 ways to do this: voice recognition or a transmitter attached to the ankle.
Voice recognition is when the probation department calls the minor’s house at random. The minor talks into the phone. Then a computer matches the voice to a recording of the minor’s voice.
If the minor has a transmitter attached to the ankle, the probation department calls a monitoring device in the minor’s house. If the minor left without permission or disconnected the equipment, it sets off an alarm and the counselor will find out about it.
APA’s goal is to give minors who break the law an alternative to being locked up or put in a group home. If the minor qualifies, they can be put in a co-ed school for grades 9 to 12. There is one school with space for 60 minors.
- Has 8 hours of school or job training a day
- Has a lot of supervision
- Gets wrap-around services
- Gets electronic monitoring
- Gets drug testing
- Has to pay restitution (compensation) to the victim
- Goes through a family strengthening program, and
- Has to take responsibility for their actions
There are more programs and resources for young people in our community. To learn more, go to the Juvenile Resources page.
The Evening Reporting Center is an alternative to Juvenile Hall. It has been open since September 2006. The ERC offers a 30-day program that operates from 3 to 9 pm. It is a structured program that gives young people the chance to get help in a supportive, "family like" environment.
Those who qualify for the program have violated probation, or have committed minor crimes such as petty theft or drug use. At the ERC they can get help with issues that are putting them in danger of failing in society and failing on Probation.
Staff from two community groups - the Alum Rock Counseling Center and Fresh Lifelines for Youth - provides programs that encourage better decision-making and being responsible for your actions.
Youth in the ERC program also get:
- legal education
- art classes
- help with homework