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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