Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Impact Program wins national recognition
The Denton County Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Impact Program (JIP) was chosen the 2012 Program of the Year at the 102nd annual convention of the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention held in New Orleans October 21-24.
JIP Deputies Penny Campbell and Charley Smith, who currently run the program for male and female participants, accepted the award on behalf of the Sheriff’s Office.
The purpose of the program is to educate first-time juvenile offenders and at-risk youth of Denton County about the consequences of illegal behavior. Two-thirds of every class is comprised of truancy-related offenses, and many have been runaways or disruptive in school, but are not yet in the juvenile justice system.
The program consists of a one-time, 4-hour class for juveniles and their parents acquainting them with the criminal justice system, divided into male and female sections. The participants are instructed about prison and actually hear incarcerated juvenile offenders tell their stories. The parents are taught new techniques to deal with their children’s behavior and provided additional resources.
The JIP began in 1998, and the program was completely redesigned and expanded by Deputy Amanda Allen beginning in 2005. She developed a version tailored for schools, “Wake Up Call”, which is currently taught in every junior high and high school where the Student Training and Youth Substance Abuse Fighter Education (STAY SAFE) program is taught. Under Deputies Campbell and Smith, gender-specific programs have been created, the female program has received a state grant to expand its outreach, and it has been opened to other agencies for duplication in their communities. Agencies from McKinney, Houston, Burleson and as far away as New Hampshire have inquired about setting up their own programs.
“This award is well-deserved,” Sheriff Benny Parkey said. “Deputies Allen, Campbell, and Smith have transformed this program into a model for other agencies, and the good work they’ve done will continue to have a positive influence for years to come.”
Sheriff Parkey said that preventing offenders from coming into the criminal justice system is a lot easier than correcting the behavior once it occurs.
“Some decisions made early in life often determine how the rest of our lives will turn out. We can’t make all the decisions for our children, and as they grow up we can’t always be there to advise them. What we can do is promote responsible decision making by providing some real-world information that will make it more likely that they make the decision that’s good for them and keeps them out of the criminal justice system,” he said.
For more about the JIP program, go to http://sheriff.dentoncounty.com/main.asp?Dept=54&Link=645.
Denton County Sheriff’s Deputies Charley Smith, Amanda Allen, and Penny Campbell show the 2012 Program
of the Year trophy that the Sheriff’s Office Juvenile Impact Program was awarded at the 102nd annual convention
of the International Association for Truancy and Dropout Prevention held in New Orleans last week.
Public Information Officer
Denton County Sheriff’s Office