The Probation Enforcement Unit was implemented through a grant to help minimize the number of juveniles on abscond status, reduce violations of probation, decrease the number of unsuccessful probation discharges and increase accountability for juvenile offenders.
The program is similar to the “Project Spotlight” with the absence of adult probation, but the advantage of this program is it targets the entire juvenile probation population vs. only at-risk caseloads. The program places three full time probation officers in the community and schools with their primary duties being face to face contacts with every juvenile on probation with emphasis on the at-risk/high profile juveniles. The curfew officers operate primarily in the evening hours and weekends ensuring the juveniles are home following rules of probation.
The officers begin each day making contact with juveniles at the targeted school for that day. The officers will perform weekly drug testing at the schools of all juveniles on formal probation. If a juvenile receives a positive drug screen the juvenile will immediately be taken into custody and transported to the juvenile detention center. Curfew officers perform random drug tests at schools. What has been discovered is the juveniles will consume an illegal drug shortly after visiting their probation officer with the idea that they will not be drug tested again until the next office visit, usually 30 days away. The curfew officers have begun drug testing juveniles within a short period of time after they visit the probation officer which has resulted in a increase in positive drug tests.
This program partners with the Ft. Bend County Sheriff’s Office. Two deputy’s assist with daily functions. The coordination between the Juvenile Probation Department and law enforcement agencies allows networking, sharing of information.
Another function of the curfew task force officers is to execute directives to apprehend juvenile absconders. When a probation officer obtains a directive to apprehend, signed by a juvenile court judge, it is given to the curfew task force for quick apprehension.