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What is Juvenile Probation?

By: the Florida Department of Juveile Justice

What is Probation?

"Probation" is a supervision program created by law, which is ordered by the court in cases involving a youth who has been found guilty of having committed a delinquent act. Probation is a legal status in which the freedom of the youth is limited and the youth’s activities are restricted in lieu of commitment to the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice.

When a youth is placed on probation, he or she must complete court-ordered sanctions and services. In addition to the general conditions of probation, the youth will need to comply with all special conditions deemed appropriate by the court and with mandatory sanctions that relate to the offense. For example, the youth may be ordered to work community service hours and/or may be ordered to pay money to the victim, if the victim was harmed or suffered losses as a result of the crime. The youth may also be ordered to submit to an evaluation and/or attend counseling, or if the offense warrants, submit a biological specimen for DNA testing.

As a special condition of probation the youth may be ordered to abide by a curfew and/or to attend a probation day treatment program. Day treatment programs provide additional monitoring of juveniles and typically offer an alternative educational setting. They also provide additional services, such as anger management classes, social skills building and substance abuse education.

Parental Responsibility

It is expected that the parent/guardian assist and encourage the youth to fulfill the sanctions of Probation.

Violation of Probation

When a youth is placed on probation, he or she is assigned a Juvenile Probation Officer (JPO), who monitors compliance with the court-ordered sanctions and services. The court order also specifies that the child’s parent/guardian “shall report violations of this order by the child to the JPO and to the court”. Therefore, the Juvenile Probation Officer and the parent/guardian will work together to enforce the court order.

If the youth violates the conditions of probation or fails to complete the sanctions imposed by the court, a Violation of Probation will be filed. If the court finds that a violation of probation occurred it may revoke probation and impose a sentence such as placement in a Department of Juvenile Justice residential facility.

Commitment and Release

Upon release from a commitment program a youth may be supervised on Post Commitment Probation or Conditional Release. Both types of supervision require the youth to adhere to specific conditions, similar to those of probation.

Conditional Release supervision is administrative in that the court does not get involved if violations occur. These violations are handled through an administrative hearing facilitated by department staff.

Violations of Post Commitment Probation are handled in the same manner as violations of probation. Both types of violations can result in re-commitment to a higher restrictiveness residential program.