Breaking the Rules: Rethinking Condition Setting and Enforcement in Juvenile Probation. Call for Applications from States/Counties to Receive Technical Assistance

August 9, 2022

Overview

The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center is seeking to partner with two jurisdictions to provide cost-free, intensive technical assistance (TA) to assess and improve their approach to juvenile probation condition setting and enforcement. This work is based on the recently released Breaking the Rules toolkit that helps states and counties rethink approaches to juvenile probation condition setting and enforcement by focusing on effectiveness, accountability, and equity.

Over the course of 9–12 months, the CSG Justice Center will help the selected sites assess their approach to probation condition setting and enforcement, including the use of graduated responses, technical violations, and revocations, including type, frequency, who is receiving them, why, and the outcomes.

Key Technical Assistance Activities

The CSG Justice Center, in partnership with selected jurisdictions, will engage in the following activities:

  • Conduct case-level data analysis focused on the population of youth on probation, including use of incentives, sanctions, and technical violations; reasons for violations; and any differences by race, ethnicity, gender, and potentially other youth/community demographics.
  • Host focus groups with probation staff, judges, youth, families, community-based organizations, and other key stakeholders about strengths and opportunities for improvement in how probation conditions are set and enforced.
  • Review policies and practices related to condition setting, compliance monitoring and reporting, incentives and graduated responses, and technical violation administration and data collection.
  • Develop an action plan that leads to reforms in probation conditions—including the potential to pilot innovative approaches—fewer technical violations, reductions in the number of and disparities in youth incarcerated, and a shift in culture.

Participating Site Requirements

If selected, participating sites are required to do the following to be successful:

  • Form an internal agency working group chaired by an agency leader.
  • Readily share relatively comprehensive, high-quality data concerning probation, violations, and outcomes in a timely fashion.
  • Engage in a transparent review of policies and practices.
  • Demonstrate a clear commitment to meaningful policy and practice change by developing a detailed action plan for reform and an ongoing forum for overseeing this work.

Application Requirements

County or state juvenile probation agencies are eligible to apply (state agencies must designate a target locale). To apply, please submit a letter of interest by Friday, October 14, 2022, signed by agency and/or judicial leadership, answering the following items:

  1. Describe your agency’s commitment to reform and the goals leadership hopes to accomplish through this process. (100–300 words)
  2. Who from your agency will staff the project and meet regularly with CSG Justice Center staff? How does your agency leadership want to be involved or kept abreast of project updates? Who are the key stakeholders that need to agree on final recommendations and action plans? How will agency leadership engage frontline staff and other key stakeholders in this work? (100–300 words)
  3. What probation data related to conditions, graduated responses, violations, and outcomes do you generally track in a database? Is there any reluctance to share these data? What quality assurance practices are in place to ensure high-quality data? (100–300 words)

The CSG Justice Center will select two jurisdictions to participate in this opportunity by Tuesday, November 1, 2022. CSG Justice Center staff may reach out to applicants to better understand the goals and capacity of the agency, if necessary.

Please submit your letter to Stephanie Shaw at sshaw@csg.org by October 14, 2022. If you have any questions about the project or application process, please contact Stephanie Shaw at sshaw@csg.org.

About the author


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Stephanie Shaw
Project Manager, Corrections and Reentry
Stephanie Shaw works with states and counties to improve outcomes for youth in the juvenile justice system. Stephanie has also worked to reduce the overuse of jail through initiatives such as Stepping Up and the MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice
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Challenge. She has extensive experience with youth and families involved in the justice system through direct service, research, technical assistance, and program design. Most recently, Stephanie was the director of violence prevention at the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, where she worked to enhance community-led youth gun violence prevention. Stephanie holds a BS in psychology from the University of Arizona and an MA in community psychology from the University of New Haven.
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