Probation Transformation

Probation transformation fundamentally reimagines with whom juvenile probation officers work and how they work.

Pro­ba­tion is court-ordered super­vi­sion of youth in the com­mu­ni­ty that can last from months to years. It is the most com­mon expe­ri­ence young peo­ple have with­in juve­nile jus­tice sys­tems and places restric­tions on what young peo­ple can do, who they can see and where they can go. Pro­ba­tion impos­es rules — includ­ing cur­few, school atten­dance and drug-test­ing man­dates — on youth. Break­ing these rules can result in fur­ther restric­tions, return to court and even incarceration.

Why Trans­form Juve­nile Probation?

Evi­dence shows sur­veil­lance- and com­pli­ance-ori­ent­ed pro­ba­tion doesn’t reha­bil­i­tate youth despite the ded­i­ca­tion and good inten­tions of pro­ba­tion pro­fes­sion­als. As it’s cur­rent­ly designed, pro­ba­tion often pulls young peo­ple — even those with first-time or low-lev­el offens­es — deep­er into the legal sys­tem with­out offer­ing the sup­port and guid­ance that would put them on the right path and reduce the like­li­hood of re-arrest. Pro­ba­tion also plays a large role in the con­tin­u­ing over­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Black, Indige­nous and Lati­no youth in youth jus­tice systems.

What Is Juve­nile Pro­ba­tion Transformation?

Pro­ba­tion trans­for­ma­tion fun­da­men­tal­ly reimag­ines how pro­ba­tion offi­cers work and with whom they work. Pro­ba­tion trans­for­ma­tion exam­ines and address­es the bar­ri­ers to get­ting pro­ba­tion right, from an organization’s struc­ture and cul­ture to resources and rela­tion­ships. For young peo­ple to thrive, we need to respond more effec­tive­ly when they make mis­takes, even when they cause harm. This means mov­ing away from a cul­ture of pun­ish­ment toward more devel­op­men­tal­ly appro­pri­ate respons­es, includ­ing options that keep more kids away from the jus­tice system.

From the Blog

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Youth Probation Experiences and Solutions

A free webinar leverages first-hand experiences to explore what is and isn’t working in youth probation. Learn about the webinar.

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