Detention for probation violators: characteristics of youth locked up for violating probation

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Harms, Randi Jay
Craig-Moreland, Delores E.

This study examined the population of juvenile offenders admitted to a juvenile detention facility in one county in Kansas for a probation violation between July 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. This descriptive study was exploratory in nature and identified characteristics of this population including demographics, risk of reoffending, case information, and outcomes. A total of 147 admissions were included in this study, involving 109 different youth, some of whom violated standard probation, and some of whom violated intensive supervision probation. This study also looked at the role of zero-tolerance language in sentencing orders and its role in the use of detention as a sanction for probation violations. For the majority of probation violation related detention admissions, the most serious offense in the case was a misdemeanor (71% of admissions) and a minor crime (65% of admissions). Nearly 50% of the admissions in this study were related to a single probation violation, and only 17% were related to an arrest or new charge. Of the 122 admissions for technical probation violations, 49% were related to a violation of zero-tolerance language in a sentencing order. Most of the admissions in this study resulted in a stay in detention that was less than one week, with 45% of admissions resulting in less than three days in detention. The vast majority (71%) of admissions for zero tolerance violations resulted in less than three days in detention. The results of this study indicate that nonviolent youth who have not committed serious crimes are serving time in detention due to technical probation violations. Additionally, zero tolerance language, particularly zero tolerance regarding school attendance, is related to multiple short stays in detention.

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Thesis (M.A.)--Wichita State University, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Criminal Justice