The JTOP program is designed to provide high-risk, youthful offenders additional support while on adult probation in order to help them succeed. The program is divided up into three phases. A probationer advances between phases by showing continued periods of sobriety, attending school, obtaining and maintaining employment, and following the rules of the program. Best case scenario, the client can graduate JTOP in 6 months and be transferred onto standard probation. Most of the time, the probationer will keep his assigned probation officer even after he graduates the program. At graduation, the court can delete outstanding probation service fees, community restitution hours, and deferred jail terms ordered at sentencing.
A client can be placed in JTOP in two ways – ordered at sentencing by the Judge or screened in by the adult probation department. If ordered by a Judge at sentencing, the client will automatically be placed in the JTOP program without further recommendation from probation. This typically happens when the terms are stipulated to in the plea or the client is “true transferred youth,” meaning he was under age 18 at the time of the offense and sentencing. In either scenario, the sentencing Judge must still order JTOP terms at sentencing (and in the minute entry). Alternatively, the Judge can order probation to screen a client for JTOP after sentencing. This leaves full discretion with the probation department to determine if the client is eligible for the program. Eligibility often times depends on the current caseload of the probation officers in the area where the client will reside.
JTOP is not automatic in most cases. Your attorney must advocate for your child. Please call me to find out more.