The Juvenile Probation Department endeavors, whenever possible, to utilize community based counseling programs, volunteer organizations, day treatment programs, as well as internal departmental services designed to reduce delinquency. The following is a list of diversion and preventative efforts that have been undertaken by the Juvenile Probation Department to stem the tide in delinquency.
Program & Services
An Alcohol & Drug Awareness Program was established for first time offenders charged with Underage Drinking offenses in 1988. (NOTE: These youth may, but do not always, come under the jurisdiction of the Juvenile Court since these are summary offenses. This is a service provided by the Juvenile Probation Department for the Lehigh County communities with referrals primarily through Magisterial District Judges. Clients pay a fee to participate in this program.) Juvenile Probation Officers instruct the class and provide information to the students concerning the social and legal implications of underage drinking and DUI. Guest speakers are invited to attend, as well as to share their life experiences concerning the toll alcohol and drug abuse have taken on their lives. The program provides defendants with an opportunity to learn about the physiological and sociological effects of the use of alcohol, as well as to provide an assessment of these defendants regarding their use and/or abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, and their need for further treatment. It also gives the defendants an opportunity to avoid a criminal conviction.
ALPHA (formerly named "The Program for Women and Families") is a program that deals with juveniles whom are on probation in Lehigh County and have either dropped out of school or have been expelled from school. This program offers assessment of education functioning levels, academic instruction in two tracks - GED and academic remediation, life skills and behavioral instruction, community outreach/victim impact projects, and job readiness training.
The program enables juvenile probation clients, ages 12 to 18, to participate in art instruction and art history classes at the Allentown Baum School of Art. The intent of the program is for probationers to realize their personal strengths and enhance their self-esteem through the discovery of artistic talents brought forth by professional instructors. The classes are held one day a week, for two-hour sessions, over a ten week period of time. The budding artists are exposed to painting, drawing, pottery, and photography during the ten-week art sessions.
These are an evidence-based programs designed to bring about change in the offenders behavior, often by addressing their attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs. Programs vary in length, depending on the topic. Topics offered include anger, drug and alcohol, misdemeanors and life skills. Cognitive based curriculum includes the following:
The program promotes conflict resolution, anger management, respect for others and effective communication. Youth between 12 and 18 years old can be referred. The classes are 1 1/2 hours, twice per week for ten weeks. Cornell Abraxas staff facilitates the class at their office.
Cognitive based program for moderate to high-risk youth. Various topics however, presently we are only offering Responsible Behavior and Substance Using Behaviors in the group setting. For youth 14 - 18 years old. Other journals offered for one on one with their Probation Officer include: What got me here, Individual Change Plan, Handling Difficult Feelings, Relationships and Communication, Victim Awareness, and Family.
Program designed to bring about change in offenders behavior through cognitive learning. Programs vary in length depending on which topic is offered. The two main topics we are offering at this time include anger (5-8 sessions) and Misdemeanors (5 sessions). Evidence based.
This is an evidence-based program designed to change thinking and behaviors. It consists of 25 lessons that are 1.5 hours in length and scheduled twice a week. This is for juveniles who score moderate to high in attitudes/orientations or personality or overall score on YLS. The group is gender specific for juveniles 14 years old and older.
Selected juveniles visit local colleges to receive help with homework, join activities, and learn about college enrollment.
Community based individual and family counseling that address the specific needs of the client and their families.
In lieu of continued detention for violations of probation or for a repeat offense which is of a minor nature, youth can be placed under this form of electronic surveillance for up to 60 days.
This is a girls group which is a structured support group for 12 to 18 year olds. It integrates relational theory, resiliency practices and skills training along with girl's personal experiences. There is a focus on trauma and victimization. It can be provided in connection with the Girls Empowerment Movement (GEM) which provides individual services to girls.
This is an early intervention class for teens at risk of marijuana dependence. Topics include triggers, refusal skills, decision making and consequences of use.
The Retail Theft Class is a Court operated program under the direction of the Lehigh County Juvenile Probation Department. The class will hold youth accountable for their inappropriate actions while at the same time improve their competencies with an educational component. The class can be used as a diversion in lieu of probation or as a condition of a youth's individual probation. The Retail Theft class allows youth between the ages of 12 and 18 to be enrolled in a six-hour educational/intervention program as a consequence for committing retail theft(s).
In Victim and Community Awareness Classes, probation officers address juvenile offenders' accountability for their crimes. Participation in the classes can help offenders realize that victims are real people with deep emotions and that the impact of their offense on their victims' quality of life may be greater and longer lasting than they originally thought. Through guided group discussion, role plays, worksheets and writing apology letters, offenders are asked to specifically identify who has been affected by their crime and how they can work to repair the harm. To begin the process of reparation, offenders are asked to identify how their victims and community were impacted on physical, emotional, financial and spiritual levels.
The Lehigh County Victim Offender Conferencing Program is a partnership between Lehigh County Juvenile Probation and Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley. It provides unique opportunities for victim restoration and offender accountability with a focus on reconciliation, restitution, and safe communities in Lehigh County.
This class is works with the 10-13 year olds. Topics include juvenile justice system, anger and feelings, drugs and alcohol, victim awareness and decision-making. Homework and a final project are required. Youth can earn $250 towards restitution for completing the class.
Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, 455 West Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18101-1614 • (610) 782-3000