National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Limiting the Time Youth Spend on Probation in California (2020)
SB 1134 (Beall)

Adolescent years are critical to growth and development. Young people who are on probation deserve a chance to meaningfully demonstrate their rehabilitation. While probation is intended to be rehabilitative, that goal is often undermined by its simultaneous focus on surveillance and compliance with terms and conditions that are not always related to the charges or hinder the opportunity for growth and success.

Probation is more frequently imposed on youth of color, with 86% of youth on wardship probation being youth of color. County probation data reveal that young people are on probation for an average of up to two years, with youth of color spending significantly longer periods of time than white youth. Spending a significant portion of childhood under surveillance is in conflict with the fundamental principles of positive youth development, and the burden of long lists of probation requirements, many of which bear little or no relationship to the behavior that brought the youth before the court, make it difficult for youth to achieve success while on probation. Juvenile court probation orders in California can include anywhere from five to 50 conditions of probation, with standard, boilerplate terms and conditions that are often not individually tailored, developmentally appropriate or designed to provide necessary supports for accountability and healing.

It is time California ensures that emerging adults of all racial backgrounds receive probation terms that are aligned with positive youth development and rehabilitative principles, and structure probation such that it allows young people that demonstrate rehabilitation the opportunity to experience their formative years without the surveillance, stigma, and restriction of probation. youth. SB 1134 will:

  • Limit non-custodial wardship probation to six months, while granting extensions to probation should the court determine it is in the young person’s best interest
  • Require probation conditions be individually tailored, developmentally appropriate, and not excessive

#TimeToBeAKid