This paper will discuss the different classes of probation programs within juvenile post-adjudication intervention. In addition, this paper will include some background information on probation, how successful it has been with particular types of offenders, socio-economic-political issues and my assessment of the programs and overall opinion. .
Juvenile probation is the oldest and most widely used program through which a range of court-ordered services is provided. Approximately 70% of juveniles that are arrested are placed on probation. Probation may be used for low-risk first-time offenders or as an alternative of confinement for more serious offenders. In some cases probation may be voluntary, in which the youth agrees to comply with a period of informal probation in place of formal adjudication. More often, once adjudicated and formally ordered to a term of probation, the juvenile must submit to the probation conditions established by the court. When juveniles, ages 17 and under, enter this system, they usually are arrested and placed into a system for younger offenders when it would be a criminal act if committed by an adult. The process that usually takes place once arrested involves: intake screening of the cases referred to juvenile and family courts, pre-sentence investigation of juveniles, and court-ordered supervision of juvenile offenders. Also, "Juveniles are subject to legal intervention when they commit status offenses such as those who run away, defy their parents, or stay out to late" (Lundman, 2001). However, few juveniles are tried as adults, unless they commit a serious crime such as murder. Outside probation, juveniles are ordered by the court to pay fines, restitution, or do community service as a part of their sentence.
The main function of this system is to take a somewhat paternal and protective attitude toward children, whether to offer assistance with problems or a form of parental punishment.