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Bridging Research and Practice in Juvenile Probation: Rethinking Strategies To Promote Long-Term Change

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2018
86 pages
This report synthesizes the best research available on effective juvenile probation services to produce recommendations for juvenile probation officers.
The framework presented in this report applies research to practice in juvenile probation and leverages knowledge gained from research to develop strategies that motivate long-term behavioral change, promote healthy development, and decrease the likelihood of future misbehavior. Probation supervision strategies are shifted away from a traditional standardization of practices for all juvenile probationers toward a more responsive, interactive, and individualized provision of case management and probation services. Such an approach has significant potential to reduce recidivism, maximize the efficient use of limited resources, promote individual skill development, and improve family functioning. The first chapter of this research report discusses the rationale for and implementation of the transference of relevant research into juvenile probation policies and practices. A framework for research-informed juvenile probation is provided in this chapter. The second chapter focuses on screening, assessment, and structured decisionmaking in juvenile probation systems. It advocates and explains the screening of each youth at intake and the diversion of youth from processing by the formal juvenile justice court system when appropriate. Other topics addressed in this chapter are the use of validated assessment tools for assessing risk, needs, and strengths of each youth; the use of risk information to inform recommendations at key decision points; and the use of information on a youth's needs and strengths to inform case planning. Case planning is discussed in detail in the third chapter. The remaining chapters provide guidance on matching services and promoting positive youth development, structuring supervision to promote long-term behavior change, incentivizing success and implementing graduated responses, and a concluding summary. 220 references, notes, a glossary, and 9 case studies and local examples

Date Published: October 1, 2018