Criminal Justice Senior Auston Smith interned with the Montgomery County Juvenile Court Probation Services in Dayton, Ohio, an office with multiple kinds of probation officers, including drug court probation officers. This organization serves the youth of the Dayton community.
What were your job duties at your internship? What kinds of activities were you involved in?
My job duties consisted of performing random drug screenings, conducting office visits with the youth, presenting a few cases in the drug court, and a few miscellaneous tasks. I was able to participate in several activities in this internship. Activities like staff and youth kickball, softball, and basketball tournaments. Things that really got the kids involved.
Could you speak a little bit more about the role of a probation officer who serves youth offenders? What is the end game when working with kids in this capacity?
Drug court is for the troubled youth who have more of a drug problem than kids on traditional probation. As a probation officer in drug court, you are a probation officer/ mentor and positive influence for your kids. If you can help your kids reach the goal of getting off of probation, every single thing on their record will be expunged.
How did spending time and bonding with the kids you served help you do your job?
Every kid loves playing and competing in sports. In these events, I would take the time to get to know some kids and pick their brain and give the kids a chance to also learn a little about me as well. I am young so it was easy for me to relate to these kids and some of the situations they are facing. They would simply ask me for my input and advice on some things and I made sure I told the kids what was real and how to overcome some tough adversity they are facing. This made my job easy because the kids cooperated with me. I was told by a probation officer that the kids worked better with me versus their last interns which made me feel great.
How did Ashland's Criminal Justice Program prepare you to meet the challenges of your internship?
Ashland's Criminal Justice Department prepared me for all aspects of this internship. This was done by just simply going over the aspects of becoming a juvenile probation officer.
What experience(s) did you find most helpful or valuable during your internship? How do you think your internship will impact your chosen career path?
The most valuable experience I gained at my internship was when I was able to present five cases in Drug Court. I actually felt like I was a real probation officer. My internship will definitely impact my career path because I now know that becoming a juvenile probation officer is something I would love to do. The people I encountered at my internship taught me a lot and really inspired me.