Journal Spotlights Casey’s Vision for Transforming Juvenile Probation

Posted October 27, 2020, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Take a chance on changing juvenile probation

The jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Pro­ba­tion and Parole Asso­ci­a­tion (APPA) has ded­i­cat­ed an issue exclu­sive­ly to the sub­ject of juve­nile pro­ba­tion, with five arti­cles pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. The arti­cles are based on the Foundation’s vision for sweep­ing changes and pri­or­i­ties to address juve­nile pro­ba­tion, a sig­nif­i­cant yet often over­looked part of the juve­nile jus­tice system.

The edi­tors of Per­spec­tives, whose read­ers are pro­ba­tion and parole lead­ers and front­line staff, wrote that they hope to con­vey effec­tive approach­es that are attuned to the unique needs of youth and cham­pi­on prac­tices that move young peo­ple out of the jus­tice system.”

In the issue’s open­ing mes­sage, Tim Hardy, the association’s pres­i­dent, encour­aged his fel­low pro­ba­tion offi­cers to con­tin­ue to learn about the excit­ing process of trans­form­ing pro­ba­tion” and to look at the pos­i­tive in our juve­niles, not just the negative.”

The issue includes the following:

Trans­form­ing Juve­nile Pro­ba­tion: A Vision for Get­ting It Right

This lead arti­cle makes the case for trans­form­ing juve­nile pro­ba­tion into a focused inter­ven­tion that pro­motes per­son­al growth, pos­i­tive behav­ior change and long-term suc­cess for young peo­ple who pose sig­nif­i­cant risks for seri­ous offend­ing. The increas­ing evi­dence about effec­tive ways to con­sis­tent­ly reduce delin­quen­cy pro­vides the knowl­edge to get juve­nile pro­ba­tion right. Pro­ba­tion is the most com­mon dis­po­si­tion in juve­nile jus­tice — over 260,000 youth were giv­en some form of pro­ba­tion in 2018, accord­ing to the lat­est fed­er­al data — and trans­form­ing it presents an enor­mous oppor­tu­ni­ty to improve the entire juve­nile jus­tice system.

From The­o­ry to Prac­tice: Steps for Change in Juve­nile Probation

This arti­cle dis­cuss­es the res­o­lu­tion of Nation­al Coun­cil of Juve­nile and Fam­i­ly Court Judges to mod­ern­ize pro­ba­tion to help youth change their behav­ior and build the skills they need to ensure suc­cess, both while they are on pro­ba­tion and as they progress into adult­hood. The arti­cle offers sev­er­al steps juris­dic­tions can take to incor­po­rate the res­o­lu­tion into pol­i­cy and practice.

Incen­tives Inspire Pos­i­tive Behav­ior Change in Youth on Probation

Offer­ing incen­tives beats tra­di­tion­al super­vi­sion in encour­ag­ing pos­i­tive behav­ior change among youth on pro­ba­tion, accord­ing to a 2019 study fund­ed by the Foun­da­tion. This arti­cle focus­es on that study, which eval­u­ates Oppor­tu­ni­ty-Based Pro­ba­tion, a pro­gram of the Pierce Coun­ty, Wash­ing­ton Juve­nile Court to help youth build skills, devel­op respon­si­bil­i­ty and avoid being arrest­ed again.

Do Famil­iar Reform Efforts Tack­le the Fun­da­men­tal Chal­lenges Fac­ing Juve­nile Probation?

This arti­cle reports on key dif­fer­ences between most efforts to boost juve­nile probation’s effec­tive­ness and the Foundation’s vision of a fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of juve­nile probation.

Seiz­ing the Moment for Fun­da­men­tal Change: A Top 10 List

Steve Bish­op, a senior asso­ciate with the Foun­da­tion, presents 10 rec­om­men­da­tions for last­ing changes in juve­nile pro­ba­tion in the con­text of the seis­mic events of 2020 — the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, nation­wide protests against sys­temic racism and police bru­tal­i­ty, as well as sud­den and extreme bud­get short­falls. As chal­leng­ing as 2020 is, it also pro­vides an oppor­tu­ni­ty for cre­ative prob­lem-solv­ing and new approach­es to achieve probation’s mis­sion of facil­i­tat­ing per­son­al growth, pos­i­tive behav­ior change and long-term suc­cess for the young peo­ple it serves,” Bish­op writes.

Front­line prac­ti­tion­ers are hun­gry for new strate­gies to help the young peo­ple they work with every day,” says Opal West, a Casey pro­gram asso­ciate. We’re excit­ed to see the APPA high­light what’s possible.”

Learn more about Casey’s com­mit­ment to trans­form­ing juve­nile probation

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