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West Virginia

Probation Services > Juvenile Offenders

Lincoln County Probation Services is charged with supervising all persons placed on probation by the Circuit Court of Lincoln County. Jerry Swanson, the Chief Probation Officer, is in charge of all adult probationers. On the other hand, Tom Scarpellini, the Juvenile Probation Officer, is in charge of supervising all juvenile deqlinquents (those persons under the age of 18 years who have done an act which, if committed by someone over the age of 18 years, is a crime, and some acts which are not unlawful for adults but are unlawful for children or so-called status offenders or incorrigibles).

What is probation? One of the misconceptions that many people have about probation is that it is the same thing as parole. However, a parolee is someone who has been discharged from prison prior and is supervised by the West Virginia Department of Corrections for a specified period of time.

So, what is probation? For a juvenile offender, it can be much the same as for adult offenders, though more possibilities and flexibility are available for juveniles.

As with adults, juvenile probation is a type of court-ordered supervision" that a court orders in lieu of sentencing a juvenile convicted of a crime to a juvenile correctional facility. Probation is a second chance.

One of the specialized workers in the Probation Office is Jennifer Bailey, the Victims Services Coordinator. She assists victims of crimes recover and recuperate from their negative experiences with the justice system. She provides serivces to victims of violent crimes; provides crisis intervention services; counseling; and makes referrals to other agencies and service providers. She assists crime victims to file compensation claims and otherwise looks out for the victims' rights after a crime has been committed against them.

When a judge enters a probation order, the judge refers the probationer to the Probation Office. The court order contains many provisions that require the probationer to not only keep the laws that every citizen has to obey, but further to obey several special terms, conditions and behaviors ordered by the court that are tailored to the individual offender.

If a probationer violates any of the terms of the probation order, which is like a contract ordered by the court, the judge can revoke the probation and sentence the probationer to the sentence he would have received if he had not received probation. When you are on probation, you have to live an exemplary life and carry out all of the terms of the probation order, else you will face revocation of your probation and will be sentenced to prison.

One of the first terms of any probation is reporting to the Probation Office on a regular and periodic basis. Other terms might include getting and keeping a job; not consuming alcoholic beverages or other drugs; not going into establishments that sell alcoholic beverages; not spending any time in the company of another convicted criminal; not leaving the jurisdiction; making restitution (paying back the value of stolen property, for example); doing community service; and other such requirements, in addition to obeying all Federal, State and local laws, rules and ordinances. Participating in community service work as a means of rehabilitating an offender is a quite useful and effective tool that the Probation Office can use.

The purpose of probation, as stated earlier, is to give a law-breaker a second chance, an opportunity to redeem oneself and become a contributing member of society instead of a burden on society. Prison is very costly and a harsh punishment, reserved for the most hardened criminals or those who have committed a very serious crime. Probation is an opportunity to prove to the court, for a specified period of time (usually several years) that you can live without breaking the law.

The Administrative Assistant performs many office and clerical duties, including keeping track of all of the other workers; arranging appointments for probationers; coordinating the Probation Office; and other duties as assigned by the Chief Probation Officer.

The Probation Office exists to carry out the orders of the Circuit Court and to serve those who, willingly or otherwise, enter the criminal justice system.