What’s Our Excuse for Being Callous With Kids?

I recently trained some probation officers on something called graduated sanctions — a best practice in the supervision of juveniles that gives probation officers discretion to respond immediately to probation violations without having to file a petition, arrest the kid and appear before the judge. It’s worth mentioning, because a number of courts do not use it, but suffer busier dockets and tend to have higher detention and recidivist rates. It has confounded me why some of us in this business haven’t figured out that keeping officers in the field and out of the courtroom, reduces recidivism. The real work, you might say, is outside the courtroom. But those of us doing graduated sanctions must do it correctly.