The Juvenile Justice system in Pennsylvania has undergone some significant changes in the last decade. Certain hearings are now open to the public. Confidentiality, which was paramount for almost 100 years, has changed significantly. A central repository for dispositions, photographs and fingerprints has been created. And a new clause has been added to the purpose of the Pennsylvania Juvenile Act which focuses on providing balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability and the development of competencies.
This new purpose is premised on the concept that each "client" receives tangible benefits from their interaction with the system.
As a result of these changes, the "clients" of the system have also changed. The system can no longer solely focus on the needs of the juvenile offender and his/her family. It must also focus on the needs of the victim and a response to the community. The fact that the citizens of our community have the right to a safe and secure community is vital. Also, it is clear that the system must hold the juvenile accountable. When a crime is committed by a juvenile, an obligation to the victim and community is incurred. Finally, the juvenile offender should leave the system more capable of being a responsible and productive member of his/her community than when they entered.
With these changes in mind, the Juvenile Probation Department has developed a new approach called Neighborhood Centered Community Supervision. It intends to build on its past collaborations and redesign how probation services are delivered to the citizens of Erie County.
To accomplish this, probation services are provided in a team fashion with Probation Officers, Specialized Probation Officers and School Based Probation Officers communicating and collaborating to provide effective supervision of youth in Erie County. Supervised contacts may take place with in the client's homes, school, community justice center or county courthouse with the goal to ensure that all components of the balanced and restorative justice approach are implemented i.e., community protection, competency development, and accountability.
Neighborhood Centered Community Supervision is a philosophical and programmatic approach to caseload management provided by the Juvenile Probation Department of the Court of Common Pleas. It is intended to further the Juvenile Act's emphasis on the Balanced Approach to Restorative Juvenile Justice. It promotes government and community partnerships in an effort to maximize the effective supervision of juvenile offenders and reduce delinquent conduct. Direct supervision of juveniles in neighborhood settings is employed in order to facilitate the utilization of community resources and assure the accountability of juvenile offenders.
To facilitate this, the Erie County Juvenile Probation Department has two facilities where our teams of Probation Officers, Specialized Probation Officers and School Based Probation Officers collaborate for effective supervision.
The first is the Erie County Courthouse where Intake, Court Hearings, and some special services are housed. This address is as follows:
Erie County Courthouse
Erie County Juvenile Probation Department
140 West 6th Street, Room 401
Erie, PA 16501-1028
Phone - (814) 451-6220
Fax – (814) 451-7070
TDD – (814) 451-7055
The second site is the Community Justice Center. This location was established in 1998. The address for this facility is:
Community Justice Center
450 West 18th Street
Erie, PA 16502
Phone – (814) 451-7455
Fax – (814) 451-7456