Some U.S. Probation Officials Want to ‘Blow Up’ Their Systems

By Michael Fitzgerald, The Imprint | September 30, 2020

The Imprint covered a recent Stoneleigh Foundation and Columbia Justice Lab webinar featuring Stoneleigh Visiting Fellow Patrick McCarthy and several other national probation experts, who shared their perspectives on the path forward for youth probation in the United States.

The common image of a probation department is a bland government building where a stern man sits with a clipboard, tapping his watch, waiting for an accused person to show up and explain if they’ve complied with a stay-out-of-trouble plan. If they haven’t complied, or if they fail to reach sometimes far-away probation offices, the accused could wind up in jail without having committed a new crime.

But on Tuesday, a group of reform-minded current and former probation commissioners gathered virtually to share a radically different vision, at least for the more than 300,000 juveniles who become involved in probation each year.

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View the webinar