Juveniles' beliefs about and perceptions of probation predict technical violations and delinquency

Adam D. Fine, Erika Fountain, Sarah Vidal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Best practices in juvenile probation focus on individualized treatment, yet youths' perceptions of the role probation should play (e.g., law enforcement) have been largely overlooked in this process. This study used self-reported data from 110 racially/ethnically diverse youthful probationers in 2 jurisdictions. The youth reported their perceptions of the role probation plays, their beliefs about the role probation should play, their technical violations, and their delinquent offenses. The results of Poisson regression analyses indicated that when youths' beliefs about the role probation should play aligned with their actual experiences on probation, they committed fewer technical violations and engaged in less delinquency. That is, compared with youth whose beliefs were incongruent with their experiences, youth whose beliefs and experiences were congruent committed fewer technical violations and delinquent offenses. Youth have varying expectations for how their juvenile probation officers will treat them, and individualizing treatment to ensure that probation officers and juvenile probationers are on the same page may reduce technical violations and delinquency. Altogether, this study suggests that youths' perceptions of probation may matter in the probationary process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-125
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2019



  • Juvenile delinquency
  • Juvenile justice
  • Juvenile offenders
  • Juvenile probation
  • Responsivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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