Youth Justice

End Endless Probation (2021 & 2022)

AB 503 (Stone)

AB 503 improves outcomes for youth by minimizing the time they spend on probation, and tailoring probation conditions to meet their needs.


Probation is the most common court ordered outcome imposed on youth in juvenile court in California. In 2019, nearly 20,000 young people in California were placed on probation. The vast majority (87%) were youth of color. Compared to white youth, Black youth are nearly nine times more likely and Latino youth are more than two times as likely to be placed on wardship probation.

Long periods of time on probation increases the likelihood that the young person will be charged with probation violations, sometimes resulting in incarceration often for minor offenses. This practice goes against the fundamental principles of youth development and research that shows keeping youth on supervision for longer than six months is not likely to result in public safety gains. In addition to this research, juvenile justice experts in the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project have recommended shorter periods of probation for youth in several states in order to better align with the intention of providing youth with an alternative to a lifetime of system entrapment.

On top of undetermined amounts of time on probation, juvenile court probation orders in California can include anywhere from five to fifty conditions of probation. The burden of long lists of 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 succeed. Evidence supports limiting probation terms to those that are individually tailored and developmentally appropriate to improve outcomes and reduce costs without compromising public safety.

We need to do better in addressing the behavioral, environmental, and developmental impacts our kids are going through during their adolescent years. By passing AB 503, we hope to bring the focus of juvenile justice programming back to the growth and developmental needs of our youth in order to meaningfully support their rehabilitation.  AB 503 would:

  • Establish state law that presumes probation termination at 6 months, with an option to extend based on defined parameters.
  • Require probation conditions be understandable, individually-tailored, developmentally appropriate, and evidence-based.
  • Create a layer of accountability within the juvenile delinquency system that elevates youth well-being, addresses racial inequities, and is supported by data and research.

NCYL is partnering with the W. Haywood Burns Institute, the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color (ABMOC), Young Women’s Freedom Center (YWFC), Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), and the Youth Justice Coalition (YJC). We are proud to be working with the following legislators:   Author: Assemblymember Stone Co-authors: Assemblymember Bauer-Kahan, Assemblymember Chiu, Assemblymember Kalra, Assemblymember Wicks, and Senator Skinner