Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania
County of Allegheny
Juvenile Probation | Probation Officers

Juveniles who are adjudicated delinquent or placed under a Consent Decree are assigned to a Probation Officer (PO) in a community-based probation office or in a school-based setting. Commonly referred to as the backbone of Juvenile Court, Probation Officers are responsible for supervising offenders, holding them accountable for their offenses, and providing them with opportunities to develop their competency skills. To accomplish these tasks, Probation Officers must engage not only offenders, but also the victims of juvenile crimes and the communities the Probation Officers' serve.

Protecting the community is central to the role of the Probation Officer. Toward that end, Probation Officers routinely contact offenders at home, school, and in the community. The job of the Probation Officers is “in the field,” not behind the desk. Public safety requires that Probation Officers monitor curfews, make unannounced visits, ensure school attendance, and involve youth in constructive activities after school and during the evening hours—peak hours for juvenile crime.

The Probation Department continues to collaborate with local law enforcement on the Ride Along Project. The goal of this effort is to enhance public safety through joint supervision of offenders under the Court’s jurisdiction. The cooperation between probation and police has enabled Probation Officers to more closely enforce the conditions of supervision and promptly—in some cases instantaneously—respond to violations.

In 2004, the Warrant Unit was created with the goal of improving community protection. The Warrant Unit is comprised of Probation Officers, Supervisors, and Administrators who have full-time responsibilities in addition to their Warrant Unit activities. The Unit works closely with local law enforcement, particularly the City of Pittsburgh - Bureau of Police and the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department, to actively pursue offenders who have absconded, failed to appear for Court, or violated the conditions of supervision. Through December 31, 2008, over 88 percent of those sought by the Warrant Unit have been apprehended and detained at Shuman pending a Court appearance.

Probation Officers work with victims at every phase in the Juvenile Court process, explaining their options, providing them an opportunity to be heard, and helping to restore them to their pre-crime status. With the help of the Cornell Abraxas Workbridge Program, Probation Officers are responsible for collecting Court ordered restitution, out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the victim as a result of the juvenile’s crime. Holding offenders accountable for paying restitution is an important and tangible element in restoring victims.