Probation Failing Young Offenders

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition report says there has to be a better way

Probation Failing Young Offenders

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, a research and advocacy organization on CJ reform, has just issued a report on the use of probation for youthful offenders in Texas. "Young Adults and Community Supervision: The Need for a Devel­opmentally Appropriate Approach to Probation," by Joshua Cuddy, Doug Smith, and Lindsey Linder, reports that "young adults placed on adult probation for felony offenses are far more likely to be revoked and sent to prison than older adults." TCJC's statistical review reflects that in 2017, only 18% of 17-21 year olds successfully completed felony probation, while for older groups (i.e., those over 25), more than 60% emerged from probation without reoffending (or violating parole) and being returned to prison.

The report notes that recent brain research has demonstrated that the brains of young people – specifically, the prefrontal cortex – continue developing into their 20s, and until that happens, they struggle with "judgment, impulse control, and organized planning," and are more readily subject to peer pressure. The authors argue that juvenile probation procedures (currently ended in Texas at 17) should continue as late as age 25, and more specifically that "the most effective approach for reducing criminal justice system involvement among young adults is one that integrates community-based strategies." The report makes a series of recommendations that the authors say would reduce recidivism, improve individual outcomes, save state funding, and "dramatically reduce rates of re-arrest and revocation and improve outcomes for this important demographic."

The report is the first of four in a series TCJC calls "One Size Fails All," and will be followed by others addressing probation policy recommendations for "people with substance use and mental health issues, the LGBTQ community, and people without stable housing supports."

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Texas Criminal Justice Coalition
Opinion: The War on Drugs Got It Wrong
Opinion: The War on Drugs Got It Wrong
“No one is disposable,” writes David Johnson of Grassroots Leadership

David Johnson, Feb. 14, 2020

Gimme Shelter
Gimme Shelter
Formerly incarcerated face a particularly chilly housing market

Amy Kamp, Jan. 29, 2016

More by Michael King
Dana DeBeauvoir Fought for Election Access in a Year of Barriers
Dana DeBeauvoir Fought for Election Access in a Year of Barriers

Nov. 27, 2020

Texas Book Festival 2020: Isabel Wilkerson on <i>Caste</i>
Texas Book Festival 2020: Isabel Wilkerson on Caste
Festival talk highlights structural foundations of U.S. divisions

Nov. 17, 2020

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, young offenders

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle