San Francisco Probation Takes New Approach to Technical Violations

Posted March 14, 2012, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

San Francisco’s Juve­nile Pro­ba­tion Depart­ment is using a new pro­gram in which youths fac­ing deten­tion for pro­ba­tion vio­la­tion charges instead attend ses­sions designed to deep­en their under­stand­ing of the rules and con­di­tions gov­ern­ing court-ordered pro­ba­tion and the val­ue of mak­ing good decisions.

The city’s Pro­ba­tion Enhance­ment Pro­gram is a two-ses­sion Sat­ur­day pro­gram. It allows youths and their par­ents to take part in facil­i­tat­ed dis­cus­sions about the goals of pro­ba­tion, good deci­sion mak­ing, their dreams for the future, and the impor­tance of com­mu­ni­ty service.

If I didn’t do this, my appre­ci­a­tion for things wouldn’t exist,” one youth said after com­plet­ing the program.

Young adults who have suc­cess­ful­ly nav­i­gat­ed the juve­nile pro­ba­tion sys­tem and now vol­un­teer in the com­mu­ni­ty, serve as men­tors and help facil­i­tate the week­end ses­sions with pro­ba­tion offi­cers, par­ents, and youth.

Dur­ing the first ses­sion, youths and their par­ents meet as a group with pro­ba­tion offi­cers and com­mu­ni­ty-based rep­re­sen­ta­tives and talk about their roles in com­ply­ing with pro­ba­tion rules. The sec­ond ses­sion brings youth togeth­er for a day of com­mu­ni­ty ser­vice, at a food bank or home­less shelter.

I felt good about my work today because I worked hard and gave to oth­er peo­ple,” anoth­er youth said about the program.

For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact Gar­ry Bieringer.

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