The 11th Judicial doesn’t like to fumble — not with the futures of Pershing County youth at stake. That’s why they put together a lineup of preventative strategies.
“Parents, schools and the community do not have to wait for a child to get in trouble with law enforcement,” said Chief Juvenile Probation Officer, Craig Tippens. “They can make referrals anytime they feel someone could benefit from our services.”
“All parents have to do to sit down with a JPO is walk in our office at 795 Western Avenue or call,” he added. “We’re here to help.”
Tippens travels between Pershing, Lander and Mineral Counties.
In Lovelock, Katy North and Damien McKinney round out the JPO team.
They all work under 11th Judicial District Court Judge Jim Jim Shirley.
“Judge Shirley allowed us to develop a plan to address the needs of youth,” said Tippens. “I’ve always believed that JPOs should be out in the community offering evidence-based prevention programming.”
Tippens recently updated the JPO’s roster of programs.
Botvin life skills training
The 11th Judicial offers Botvin life skills training to sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students in all three counties.
Life skills training (LST) teaches youth to resist social pressures to smoke, drink and use drugs.
The curriculum now includes opioids and prescription drug abuse.
Starting from their first year of middle school, students progress through the three-year program. North and McKinney facilitate the training at PCMS.
“Principal Shea Murphy and her staff have been outstanding,” said Tipton. “They understand the vulnerability of this age group and the importance of providing them with as many skills as possible.”
Pershing, Lander and Mineral County commissioners fund the program in each of their jurisdictions.
Anyone can walk in the JPO office and take an online prevention course like Alcohol-Wise, Marijuana-Wise or Nicotine-Wise.
3rd Millennium Classrooms developed the modules for the courts. Each student gets individualized content based on their profile. The classes take two to four hours to complete.
Parent-Wise includes parents in the learning process.
The Frontier Community Coalition (FCC) funds the 3rd Millennium Classrooms.
Project MAGIC (Making a Group and Individual Commitment)
A University of Nevada Extension program, Project MAGIC, offers an alternative to juvenile detention for first-time offenders.
Project MAGIC fosters academic success. It also seeks to change attitudes about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Each MAGIC group of 10 to 12 teenagers meets two or three times a week for about two months. They learn problem-solving, decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution and goal setting.
Parents attend three evening meetings. They work on communication, anger management and positive discipline.
The FCC funds the program.
The JPO partners with Nevada JobConnect to promote youth employment. JPO pays the student $8.25 per hour for up to 120 hours of work. After that, the business takes over.
The apprenticeship program prioritizes young people on juvenile probation but expands out to all Pershing County youth, said Tipton.
A federally funded state grant pays for the program.
Functional Family Project
Divorce and separation can shake children’s lives. That’s why the JPO offers a counselor-facilitated program for parents on the verge of a breakup. It teaches co-parenting skills that can lessen the blow to their children.
The FCC funds the Functional Family Project.
Restitution and restorative justice program
Sometimes the court rules that offenders owe their victims monetary damages.
To discuss the matter, the JPO can set up a face-to-face conference between the juvenile, their parents and the victim.
The juvenile and their parents can complete community service in lieu of payment. Once they finish the JPO remits payment to the victim.
A federally funded state program pays for the restitution and restorative justice program.
offered by JPO
The 11th Judicial Juvenile Probation Office:
• offers drug testing at parental request.
• contracts with treatment providers for substance abuse evaluations and treatment, if needed
• contracts with treatment providers for mental health evaluations and treatment, if needed.
• Under Nevada law, the JPO and DA’s Office can handle some juvenile offenses informally. If the youth meets specific requirements they need not appear in court, and there are no formal findings.
To make a referral or to meet with a probation officer call (775) 273-2769 or stop by 795 Western Avenue.