The formation of a juvenile justice system over a hundred years ago in the United States of America led to the need for installation of corrective and rehabilitative measures for delinquents. A minor offender goes through several stages in the American juvenile justice system. One of the possible measures imposed on the juvenile include probation. Juvenile probation is in three major forms of probation services. These include traditional juvenile probation, intensive supervision programs and school based probation. The disposition that a juvenile is placed in depends on several factors including their age, mental status, available evidence and the nature of crime committed among others.
Traditional juvenile probation is a disposition, which places juvenile offenders on informal, voluntary or formal court-ordered supervision. Under this type of probation service, juvenile probation officers establish contact with almost every case entering the system, performing duties ranging from screening cases to the supervision of cases. The probation officer thoroughly looks through the cases that get into the system to find out more about them. They supervise juveniles who are placed on probation through monitoring their behavior.
Juvenile intensive supervised probation is a disposition, which similar to the traditional probation service, places the minor offender under a juvenile probation officer. It slightly differs from the traditional juvenile probation service in that the minor offender has higher levels of contact with probation officers or caseworkers, the officers have smaller caseloads and there exist strict conditions of compliance. Some of the programs that incorporate intensive supervised probation include the Delaware intensive supervision program, Florida community Control program, Massachusetts Intensive Probation Supervision Program and New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program.
Juvenile intensive supervised programs are more effective compared to traditional juvenile probation because intensive supervised probation exercises a higher level of control over the offender through greater contact and therefore ensure public safety. This is through a reduction in the ratio of officer to offender ratio. These programs incorporate wider range of services to address the needs of the offender and provide a wide range of risk control strategies with an aim of correcting the offender.
Development Services Group, Inc. (2002). Probation Services. Literature Review. Washington DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.