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Juvenile Probation: The Workhorse of the Juvenile Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 1996
6 pages
Juvenile probation is discussed with respect to the work of juvenile probation officers and probation departments, the characteristics of youth on probation, and challenges to probation.
In 1993, 56 percent of all cases adjudicated for a delinquency offense received probation as the most severe disposition, compared with 28 percent that were placed in some kind of residential facility, 12 percent that were given some other disposition, and 4 percent that were dismissed with no further sanctions. Juvenile probation officers are generally college-educated white males ages 30-49, who have an average caseload of 41 juveniles. Typical problems include a lack of resources, insufficient staff, and too many cases. Although they chose this work to help youth, their greatest sources of frustration are an inability to influence youths' lives, the attitudes of probationers and their families, and difficulties in identifying successes. Fifty-four percent of the cases placed on formal probation in 1993 involved property offenses, 21 percent involve person offenses, 18 percent involved public order offenses, and 7 percent involved drug law violations. Tables and 8 references

Date Published: March 1, 1996