U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Evolution of Probation - University Settlement and the Beginning of Statutory Probation in New York City

NCJ Number
Federal Probation Volume: 48 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1984) Pages: 3-12
C Lindner; M R Savarese
Date Published
10 pages
University Settlement, the first to be founded in the United States to try to deal with problems in the poorer sections of cities, played a significant part during the early days of statutory probation in New York.
The settlement movement began in England in response to the growing industrialization of the cities and the class divisions and other problems which arose as a result. Settlement leaders developed programs like day nurseries and kindergartens for the children of working mothers, clubs for youths and adults, classes in English and civics, lending libraries, and health and cultural activities. Realizing that even extensive activities left the underlying social problems untouched, the settlement workers often became involved in politics, lobbying for legislation, helping to elect sympathetic candidates, advising public officials, and influencing public opinion and public policy. In 1901, New York established statutory probation. University Settlement, located in New York City, became deeply involved for a variety of reasons. Leaders viewed it as a more humane and practical alternative to wholesale incarceration. In addition, the headworker literally pushed University Settlement into probation work as a means of undercutting the power of Tammany Hall and preventing the newly created probation officer positions from becoming another form of patronage. In the early years, before probation became a publicly funded governmental function, private groups like University Settlement helped insure not only its survival but also its continued growth and development. A total of 39 footnotes are supplied.