by Diane Tuazon
MIDLAND - The number of young girls enrolled in the female offender counseling program have skyrocketed in the Permian Basin, and probation officers at the Barbara Culver Juvenile Justice Facility say to them it's nothing new.
"I'm the only officer and sometimes my cases can reach up to 40, right now with my caseload is have 36," Probation Officer, Debbie Melson said.
Why there is an increase in female offenders? Probation officers say it has a lot to do with what goes on back at home.
"A lot of it has to with lack of stability. Often times parents are busy with work and forget about raising a kid. It gets harder for them," Probation Officer Assistant, Oralia San Miguel, said.
It's not just repeat offenders, but even first timers too.
"I coordinate first time offenders and right now I have a 12 week course and I have 19 kids in that," San Miguel said.
The purpose of the counseling program is to help young offenders cope with their struggles and make good choices in life, and probation officers say so far the program has been a success.
"What we try to do is educate the girls so they don't make the same mistake again; we have had only 2 girls come back, so we see success," Melson said.