The Development of a National Census of Juvenile Probation: Results From Pretesting

Catherine A. Gallagher, George Mason University

Record keeping on juveniles on probation is a function of the local or state government, which vary greatly in terms of whether and how records are kept, the types of information available, the unit at which the information is collected, and their ability to synthesize information regarding the population of juveniles on probation. Given the great discrepancies at the state and local levels, it is no surprise that there is no nation-wide format allowing for descriptions and analysis of the juvenile probation population in terms of their demographics, offense histories, and type of probation arrangements. Moreover, there are no available data on case-loads for probation officers, types of services probationers receive, nor are the any data on the other important functions offered by probation agencies. To address this gap in juvenile justice statistics, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has sponsored a survey development project and data collection effort aimed at addressing these gaps in national juvenile justice data. This paper describes results from the pretesting process, presents the resulting data elements slated for inclusion, and outlines the methods and time-line for quantitative field testing, initial appearance, and data dissemination to the public and research community.

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Updated 05/20/2006