" But unlike Lehigh County, Cook County, on its website, provides a mission statement consisting of the aim to recognize the welfare of all children and their families based on public safety; it also is committed to "providing the guidance, structure and services needed by every child under its supervision" (2005, Internet). Thus, both of these juvenile probation departments have very similar goals, namely, to protect society from repeat offenders while providing equal and fair justice to the offenders, due to their age and, at times, negative social positions.
Eight specific objectives are also included in this mission statement -- to meet the special needs of each offender; to provide services to the community via sending probation officers into homes, schools and neighborhoods; to create strong relationships between probation officers and minors; to recognize the complexities of today's world and help parents to relate to their children in positive ways; to serve the needs of the minor offender while also maintaining the needs of the community; to use flexible supervision of offenders, either at home or in detention; to strengthen family relationships, and lastly, to "instill in all children a sense of responsibility for their actions and a belief in their own innate value and potential through a combination of individualized attention and community networking" (2005, Internet).
And like Lehigh County, Cook County has developed a number of innovative programs to combat juvenile crime; some of these programs have received much recognition from judges, probation officers, police organizations and community-based help organizations created to assist juveniles in a very complex and confusing world. Eight specific programs are listed on the Cook County website -- first, Station Adjustment Collaboration which makes it possible for all Youth Divisions within the Chicago Police Department to work together for delinquency prevention and intervention; the Community Liaison Program which identifies "local delinquency issues" and facilitates "community participation in a variety of programs;" the Diversion Compliance Program which interlinks the Cook County attorneys and probation officers; the Choices Program, a type of screening conference that offers advice on peer pressure related to drugs, alcohol, gang violence and the impact of one's actions on the community; the Violence Intervention Program, an educational system to inform offenders about gun violence and the victims of their offenses; the Victim Impact Panels for Minors, similar in nature to a mandatory course on the dangers of drunken driving; the Jump Start Program which gives young offenders a new head start in life after committing their crimes and serving time in jail, and finally, the Victim Advocacy Program whose goal is to "help reduce the immediate and long-term impact of being a victim while promoting the accountability of the offender" (2005, Internet).
The successes and failures of these two prominent programs is difficult to determine, mostly because the individual websites do not offer any statistics as to success or failure of their specific programs. However, it is clear that any juvenile probation program, no matter how intricate or complex, contains aspects for failure, due to the overall nature of juvenile crime and its impact on society. Both of these programs appear to be highly effective in eliminating or deterring juvenile crime, no doubt as a result of their national recognition for true achievement in this subject. As to improving these programs, a dose of good, old-fashioned reality in the form of harsh imprisonment and the so-called "tough love" approach would surely help to minimize juvenile crime by showing exactly how brutal and callous reality can sometimes be, especially in the life of a young offender who, in most cases, must be forced to confront his/her own mortality and have some remorse for their illegal actions against society.
"Court of Common Pleas -- Lehigh County, Pennsylvania." (2005). Juvenile Probation Department. Internet. 2005. Accessed August 30, 2005. http://www.