Juvenile Probation Officers Should Not Be Fixers, But Levers to Resources for Youth [jjie.org]


Like most, when I became a juvenile probation officer I entered the field envisioning myself as a counselor or a mentor. But my day-to-day duties were centered around surveillance, compliance monitoring and paperwork, and the composition of my caseload further complicated matters.

I had many kids who really didn’t need my time and attention, let alone probation. These were kids with first-time and/or low-level offenses. I tried to stay out of their way as best I could and hoped they would not violate probation rules, which would force me to take punitive action.

I had a much smaller group of kids who I couldn’t give enough attention to, or the right kind. These were young people with serious and/or repeat offenses, many of whom had multiple treatment needs, but who also needed basic support and opportunities: positive role models, healthy recreational outlets and constructive activities. I simply didn’t have enough time, training, support and resources to reach these kids the way I wanted to.

[For more on this story by Stephen Bishop, go to https://jjie.org/2019/02/20/ju...resources-for-youth/]

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Stephan Bishop efforts at the AEC Foundation brings light into the impacts of failed policies that disproportionately impact people of color. 

Young people are being locked up for breaking the rules, not breaking the law, and that is happening disproportionately to youth of color. Close to one-quarter of all out-of-home placements result from probation violations, and more than two-thirds of the youth being incarcerated for technical violations are youth of color. This contributes to a horrific data point: African-American youth are more likely to be confined today than they were 20 years ago.