The Court Services unit works with youth who have had charges filed against them by the Prosecutor's office and are awaiting adjudication of their case(s). Court Services Juvenile Probation Counselors (JPC’s) work to gather information to assist the court in making decisions in a variety of hearings that take place prior to the youth’s adjudication. These hearings include (but are not limited to) Probable Cause (PC), Arraignment, Competency & Capacity, Decline of Jurisdiction, Bail review, Personal Recognizance (PR) review, and Disposition hearings.
JPC’s are at work gathering information for the court beginning with PC bookings. Classification JPC’s work to gather information from computer records, the youth, the youth’s family and any historical information available to the Probation Department. When possible, collaborative information is sought to insure accuracy of information to the court. Based on the youth’s warrant history, history of running away from the home, his past success (or failure) while on probation, the seriousness of the current offense and any information available that may suggest risk to the community and/or self, recommendations are made to the court regarding further detention at the PC hearing. Once charges have been filed, Court Services JPC’s work towards making recommendations at the upcoming Disposition hearing. Additionally, JPC’s are monitoring compliance with PR conditions.
An interview is scheduled and the appointment becomes part of the Order on PR. At the interview, a prescreen risk assessment (prescreen) is conducted. The Prescreen is a tool designed to establish relative risk to re-offend in the community based on criminal history, school performance, peer relationships, compliance with household expectations, substance abuse history, mental health concerns, aggressive behaviors and attitudes/beliefs. Collaborative information is sought via a request for school records and, in some instances, follow up with any identified serves already in place.
In cases where the youth is detained in our detention facility, a prescreen assessment is done in detention and follow-up with the parent(s) separately. If the child has been the topic of any incident reports while staying in detention, a copy of those reports are provided to the assigned JPC.
The information gained via the prescreen process is vital to the formation of recommendations to the court at the Disposition hearing. Based on the outcome of the prescreen, youth will be asked to comply with certain conditions of supervision as well as determining the recommended length of community supervision. Additionally, the outcome of the prescreen has an impact on whether the assigned JPC will support a Deferred disposition. Finally, the prescreen will identify many of the youth who qualify for Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Aggression Replacement Training (ART) and whether a Chemical Dependency Disposition Alternative (CDDA) may be appropriate. Although there are exceptions and the Court Services unit attempts to tailor recommendations for each individual, the general guidelines are as follows:
- Low Risk cases: Most Low risk cases are going to have recommendations for 3 months of supervision (6 months for felony cases), limited conditions of probation, and to attend the Way Out program. In cases involving substance abuse, the JPC may recommend no possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances and to be monitored by Urine Analysis (UA) testing. In cases involving assaultive behavior, the JPC may recommend that the court order no assaultive or threatening behavior. Low Risk cases are seen as good candidates for a deferred disposition. Low Risk cases are not eligible for other services such as ART and FFT.
- Moderate & High Risk cases: Cases that score out as either moderate or high risk to re-offend usually come with recommendations for 6 months of community supervision and standard conditions of probation. For those who qualify, referrals are made to ART and FFT. All moderate and high risk offenders will have a full Risk Assessment (a more in-depth version of the prescreen) done shortly after being assigned to a supervision JPC. The Supervision JPC will engage in the Case Management Assessment Process (CMAP) with the respondent.
The Snohomish County Juvenile Court Diagnostic unit completes a diagnostic workup on those juvenile offenders whose standard range calls for commitment to the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA). A diagnostic packet is also completed when the court has made a determination that the juvenile offender be placed at JRA as a result of a finding of a Manifest Injustice. The diagnostic includes a review of the juvenile’s past criminal history and previous compliance with services offered while on community supervision. Collateral information is also obtained from all police agencies in which the juvenile has resided, previous parole records, school records, mental health and drug and alcohol assessments, and interviews with parent and juvenile. The diagnostic unit also applies state approved screening to assess mental health, drug and alcohol dependency, and security risk levels, to assist in determining placement and services needed in the institutional setting.