Orange County Juvenile Probation and Juvenile Hall

The Orange County Juvenile Probation department is a key player in juvenile crime cases. When a minor is accused of a crime and either taken to juvenile hall or released to their parents by the local police department, the Orange County Juvenile Probation Department gets involved. The Probation Department receives a copy of the police report and may schedule an interview with the minor and his or her parents before recommending the case be filed with the Orange County District Attorney. Some times the Probation Department will offer an informal resolution to the matter in an effort to divert the minor from the juvenile court system.

Orange County Juvenile Crimes Attorney Lauren K Johnson has represented many juvenile clients at this stage in a juvenile case. Ms. Johnson will develop the background of the client, including his prior history, school success, educational issues, familial issues, and any other issues to understand the minor and the context of the events in question. Ms. Johnson develops a specific plan, often with the parents, to address the conduct in question. Ms. Johnson counsels her minor clients regarding good choices and works to put clients on path to success. Ms. Johnson appears with her clients and their parents in a meeting with the assigned Probation Officer to determine whether the minor can be diverted informally from the system. This can result in a case never entering the juvenile justice system, saving parents time and money.

The Orange County Probation Department also operates the Orange County Juvenile Hall. The Juvenile Hall is a 434 bed detention facility that houses male and female minors between the ages of 12 and 20. Some minors may be housed in the juvenile hall if it is determined they cannot safely remain in the custody of their parents. Some minors are held in juvenile hall until the Detention Hearing and some remain in the juvenile hall after the Detention Hearing.

The Orange County juvenile hall has housing units determined by the needs of the minor, the nature of the crime and the security risk level Minors have access to therapy provided by Orange County Health Care Agency and Orange County Department of Education- Safe Schools. Minors also received services to help prevent re-offense. Minors have access to 12 step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Minors in the juvenile hall have a set schedule and are required to attend school, provided by the Otto Fischer School.

Misbehavior in the juvenile hall can be punished by a loss of privileges, room confinement, early bedtime or criminal charges if the misbehavior is criminal in nature.

The Orange County Probation Department also runs the Joplin Youth Center that provides residential treatment to teenage boys between the ages of 13 and 16. Minors there receive instruction related to gang violence intervention, anger management and parenting skills. Family counseling sessions are also available in this facility.

The Orange County Probation Department runs the Orange County Youth Guidance Center which offer substance abuse rehabilitation for minors ages 13 through 20. Both male and female minors receive services there including education, career training, and restorative justice (volunteer work).

The Orange County Probation Department also runs the Youth Leadership Program for males between 14 and 20 years old who have received extensive commitments. The focus is on re-entry and transition.

Attorney Lauren K Johnson strongly believes that almost all minors, even those accused of serious crimes, should be housed in a home environment or other structured living environment other than juvenile hall. Ms. Johnson’s first priority when she is retained to represent a juvenile client housed in the juvenile hall is to explore other options for a safe living environment for the minor. Ms. Johnson believes that a child thrives best in a family environment, where the minor can receive support and care from people who care about him or her. Juvenile detention should be avoided unless there are not other options. For clients with drug and alcohol problems, Ms. Johnson explores rehabilitation options for her clients, always with the goal of getting the client to the least restrictive environment where they can be rehabilitated.

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