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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