Transforming Juvenile Probation Executive Summary

A Vision for Getting It Right

By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

May 22, 2018

Summary

In this executive summary, the Annie E. Casey Foundation presents its vision for transforming juvenile probation into a focused intervention that promotes personal growth, positive behavior change and long-term success for youth who pose significant risks for serious offending. Probation is the most common disposition in juvenile justice, therefore taking action to get probation right presents an enormous opportunity for improving the entire juvenile justice system.

The executive summary delivers the evidence and rationale for two interdependent approaches: 1) dramatically reducing the size of the probation population and 2) transforming probation into a more effective intervention. It describes necessary elements for change — including those for improving racial and ethnic equity and setting clear and meaningful goals — and holding probation and its partner agencies in the juvenile justice system accountable for achieving them.

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Table of Contents

Key Takeaway

Transforming juvenile probation could deliver more lasting results than any other juvenile justice reform strategy

Probation is the most common disposition in juvenile justice with nearly a half-million young people given some form of probation annually. Taking action to get probation right presents an enormous opportunity for improving the entire juvenile justice system. The Casey Foundation has developed a vision for transforming juvenile probation based on new research on adolescent behavior and brain development and on intervention strategies that have been shown to consistently reduce delinquency. 

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