The Judicial Division is comprised of one Circuit Judge, a District Judge, two Court Referees, two Court Reporters and Administrative staff. The Judges and Referees hear all cases brought before the court and make a determination of the judgment on what should be done in each case.
The Probation Department provides supervision of all juveniles who are found to be delinquent, as per Title II if the Judicial Code of Alabama, and are placed on formal probation to the Juvenile Court. Each youth is assigned to a probation officer who supervises the youth’s probation for a minimum of six months. All probation officers must have bachelor’s degree in a behavioral science and must be certified by the Alabama Department of Youth Services.
The probation officers maintain contact with juveniles on a regular basis and ensure that they are abiding by all the terms and conditions of probation. Normally there are an average of 1,700 young people on probation at any given time.
This department supervises youths who reside in Mobile County and are on regular probation. Those on regular probation must meet with their probation officers once a month. They must be in school with passing grades or employed full time. They also have a nightly curfew of 7 P.M. Their driving privileges are suspended. They must pay court costs and restitution to victims when applicable. They must attend counseling programs as ordered. The court employees a full time Restitution Coordinator who works with juveniles and their victims in order to determine the amount of restitution each must pay. Intensive Probation supervises the aftercare probation of youths who have been returned home from a Department of Youth Service facility. These youths are seen by their Probation Officers on a weekly basis for a minimum of three months or more. They are required to observe the normal conditions of probation. Probation officers assigned to this area maintain a caseload of boys who have completed the residential program.
While the primary purpose of Juvenile Court is to address delinquent youth, it also maintains jurisdiction over nondelinquent children. They are called C.H.I.N.S. (Children in Need of Supervision), and include those who come to the attention of the Court because of running away from home, not obeying their parents or not attending school. Because the law says they cannot be confined with delinquent youths the center has a separate building, called the Crisis Center, which houses the four Probation Officers who counsel with theses cases. It also provides temporary sheltered care housing for up to 12 youths of safekeeping.
The detention facility at the James T. Strickland Youth Center maintains 119 secure detention beds. Detention services are provided to juveniles who are detained for court proceedings or who are detained for evaluation, further court proceedings or to await placement in a treatment facility.
The detention program provides basic care and supervision along with an accredited education program, evening counseling groups, ministerial programs, and health education classes. Basic medical care is provided on campus. Supervision is provided by a professional staff of detention officers and detention officer/counselors. They are trained and certified in first aid/CPR, preventive intervention techniques, suicide prevention and basic health assessment techniques. Detention staff is on duty twenty four hour a day, seven days a week.
The Custody Department helps the Court process petitions concerning custody issues of dependent children. Persons whose divorces did not originate in Mobile County and who wish custody of minor children must file through this Court. A certified probation officer is in charge of the department and handles all matters pertaining to custody. The Court hears a minimum of 25 to 35 custody-related cases each week.
The Department also processes petitions for:
The intake Department receives and processes all delinquency and CHINS (Children In Need of Supervision) complaints filed against juveniles up to the age of 18. Involuntary commitment complaints are reviewed up to the age of 19. Complaints are processed by an Intake Officer who also interviews the juvenile and parent or guardian, and decides the appropriate action to take regarding the complaint. Juveniles may be referred to other agencies, placed on an informal adjustment, or a petition may be filed and the juvenile required to appear before a Judge. Depending on the circumstances the juvenile may be detained at the Youth Center or Crisis Center.
The Intake Department coordinates with the Mobile Mental Health Department and the Department of Human Resources on cases requiring joint assistance. Staff from both agencies serve as liaisons to the Youth Center.
All complaints requiring a Court appearance are subject to Court Costs and attorney fees. Some Court costs and fees must be paid in advance.
Court policy requires that all CHINS cases participate in family counseling prior to Court intervention. The family may choose their own counselor if approved by the Court or attend the family counseling sessions offered at the Youth Center. If Court intervention is necessary the Intake Department will decide the appropriate action.
For information or to enroll in the Youth Center family counseling programs please call the Crisis Center at (251) 574-3222 or (251) 574-3220.
The Intake Department also processes juvenile truancy complaints and adult contributing to the delinquency of a minor complaints. Truancy complaints are received from the Mobile Public School System and are reviewed for appropriate action. Most adult cases are set for a Court appearance.
All traffic offenses for juveniles age 15 and younger are processed through the Intake Department. All DUI offenses are set for a Court appearance. Juveniles who have traffic offenses are not permitted to attend traffic school unless so ordered by the Court.
Strickland Youth center employs two mental health professionals that provide psychological testing and consultation as ordered by the Court on C.H.I.N.S.'s and adjudicated youth to assist the Court in making appropriates dispositions. A full battery of tests is administered to determine intellectual level and identify emotional and behavioral problems.
The District Attorney's juvenile Team handles all delinquent, dependent, truancy, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and child in need of supervision cases for juveniles under the age of 18, with a few exceptions.
The team consists of three assistant district attorneys and two trial coordinators which handle all juvenile cases.
The clerks manage the record keeping for the civil and criminal cases. The clerks office is also responsible for the record keeping of all court costs and restitution paid to the court.