Carson is a 14-year-old juvenile from a family of delinquents. He has two older brothers who have been in and

Carson is a 14-year-old juvenile from a family of delinquents. He has two older brothers who have been in and out of juvenile detention and jail since they were 11 and 12 years old. They are now 18 and 19 and serving time in prison for armed robbery. Carson has been in trouble with the law as well. He had been taken into custody five times before his 12th birthday.
Carson’s mom is a single mother. She has six total children. The two older boys are in prison. Carson is in the middle, and there are two younger siblings who are 8 and 10 and a toddler. She doesn’t work and has been on welfare for the past 15 years. None of the children’s fathers are involved in their lives or pay child support. She barely makes it from check-to-check each month. She relies heavily on food stamps and the food pantry. She is thankful for the house she rents under Section 8. She knows that if Carson continues to get into trouble, she could lose her younger children and/or her housing.
Carson was again involved in a law violation last Friday night. He and a group of his friends fired a gun into the air in the front yard of Carson’s house. When the police arrived, the gun was missing but neighbors pointed to Carson as the guilty party. Carson was taken into custody and transported to juvenile detention. This is Carson’s second arrest this year, and if he’s guilty of this offense, it’s a clear violation of his probation.
Pat is a probation officer with 12 years of experience. She is familiar with Carson’s case, family, and his older siblings. She actually worked a case involving his brother who was waived to adult court when he was 16. Pat thinks Carson could succeed if he had a stable home life and a more involved mother. She believes his mother is overwhelmed and cannot adequately care for all of the children. This allows for a lack of supervision of Carson and his 10-year-old sister. She believes the criminality won’t stop with Carson and she’ll eventually see all of the kids in this family in juvenile court. She’d like to provide additional interventions in the home, while holding Carson accountable for his actions. If she can convince the mother and the court to cooperate with additional services, she hopes she can keep Carson out of juvenile prison.
Pat has talked with a supervisor of the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program just to see about support that might be available for the family and Carson, in particular. She also wants to request a guardian ad litem (GAL) who may be able to talk with the kids about other issues in the home and make recommendations to the court on additional services that could deter delinquent behavior among the youth. Pat realizes that having a GAL involved in a delinquency case is rare but she’s hoping the court will consider it. Pat has mentioned these options to Carson’s mom, who seems receptive.
Pat will need to make a recommendation to the judge either to have Carson’s probation revoked and have him placed in a secure residential facility or to allow Carson to remain on probation but with stricter conditions. Pat is concerned that Carson’s mother will not be able to keep him in compliance with his community supervision requirements unless more services are placed in the home.
What complicates Pat’s decision is that the judge who presides over this case is more of a “lawgiver” than a “parent figure” with juveniles. Pat must weigh the potential recommendations and create a case plan that meets the best interests of Carson.
What Would You Do?
Do you think Pat should recommend that Carson be sent to a secure residential facility or be given more intensive probation and treatment programming while staying at home?
Considering a lawgiver judge’s approach, what do you think the judge will do?

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