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The Juvenile Intensive Supervision Program, (JISP)

Dawn Mason, Chief

The Juvenile Intensive supervision program, JISP, is situated within the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Probation Services Division. JISP is a statewide dispositional option for Family Court judges seeking detention alternatives for youth offenders deemed at risk for recidivism. It is considered an alternative to commitment for medium to severe juvenile cases. First degree dispositions and those involving sex offenses and arson in the current offense are currently ineligible to participate. Select offenders are exposed to rehabilitation techniques that are more stringent than juvenile probation, but less rigid than detention or commitment.

JISP receives referrals from Family Court judges in each of the vicinages, and conducts admissions investigations to determine the potential for a JISP candidate to succeed in the program. Prior to disposition, an assessment report containing recommendations is submitted to the Family Court for review, including any special conditions such as counseling to address individual problems. Supervision periods are assigned and modified at the discretion of the Family Court Judge.

JISP works cooperatively with the Family Court and community agencies to provide support services to assist participants and their families. These vital relationships help to connect participants with necessary education and health services that will enhance their potential for success.

JISP requires an admission “contract” between the participant, their family and the court. JISP supervision teams are comprised of a Court Services Officer 3 (CSO3), who conducts direct supervision of assigned participants and a Court Services Officer 1 (CSO1), who provides support and coverage supervision as needed. The team works cooperatively under the direction of the JISP Regional Supervisor to monitor compliance with court imposed conditions, develop community resources and assistance to the participants and families to meet program expectations.

Attendance in school and/or work is required and monitored, as well as participation in community service when ordered. Curfews are enforced, as well as attendance in support groups and appropriate substance abuse and mental health treatment is required when indicated. Court ordered fines and restitution to victims must be addressed. Judges may modify court orders according to participants’ demonstrated compliance, measured through officer recommendations and progress reports. Officers may modify case plans with supervisor approval based on individual needs, which may fluctuate.

All participant activities are recorded in the probation statewide “Comprehensive Automated Probation System.” (CAPS).

JISP encourages rehabilitation and strives to provide a backdrop for positive social engagement through close supervision and monitoring. The program provides positive reinforcement for individual success, while protecting the community by enforcing court orders with sanctions for noncompliance. The program endeavors to impart a sense of personal responsibility among participants through a continuum of graduated rewards and sanctions.

Sanctions can run the gamut from increased curfew restrictions to home detention with electronic monitoring and ultimately to violation proceedings for egregious non-compliance when less severe intervention efforts prove to be futile.

Rewards extend from reduced curfews to early release from JISP for participants who demonstrate exceptional compliance and progress in the program. Graduation ceremonies may take place in Family Court and are hailed by judges as one of the few positive celebrations ever to take place in the courtroom.

JISP officers are assigned to Regional Offices in Newark and Camden, where Regional Supervisors manage their work. The JISP Chief with the assistance of an Administrative Specialist IV and Administrative Specialist 1 provide administrative and technical support to the regions from the Central Office in Trenton.

For more information on JISP, or to request information on volunteering in the program, please call or write JISP’s administrative office in Trenton, at P.O. Box 974, Trenton, NJ 08625-0974. The main telephone number is (609) 633-6547.

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