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Privatizing Juvenile Probation Services: Five Local Experiences

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
In response to the strain problems such as illegal drug use, youth gangs, school violence, and homeless and runaway youth place on public sector services, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) funded a three-year project, the Private Sector Probation Initiative, to study the feasibility of private sector provision of selected juvenile probation services.
Demonstration sites were established in five jurisdictions; under guidance from the National Office for Social Responsibility (NOSR), the juvenile court responsible for probation services converted selected service to the private sector by preparing a realistic, comprehensive transfer plan; forming a public-private partnership with businesses and professional communities; assessing the agency's organizational structure, procedures, and services; identifying the juvenile probation functions most suited to privatization; selecting a contractor; implementing the conversion; and establishing a monitoring and evaluation process. All five sites -- Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Kenosha County (Wisconsin), Oklahoma City, and San Francisco -- found that some functions of juvenile probation departments can be improved by privatization and that private-public partnerships can provide new ideas and resources. OJJDP plans to expand the effort to State juvenile corrections agencies; NOSR is identifying States that are interested in private sector involvement in public policy and program planning.