We explored probation workers perceptions of the sociopolitical system, and the ways in which these views affect their work with youthful offenders and families. Through in-depth interviews of nine juvenile probation officers in a Mid-Atlantic state that underwent a legislative shift toward incapacitation during the 1990’s, we examine participants’ narrative of their professional orientation toward treatment or punishment of youthful behavior. We seek to understand the ways in which these perceptions influenced relationships with youth and families. Specifically, we examined how juvenile probation workers view systemic change, and the implications of change for their work with youth and families. Findings include themes centering on ambivalence around a philosophical shift from “counselor” to “officer,” which contributed to perceptions that treatment was undervalued, underfunded, and nonessential.
|Keywords:||Juvenile Probation, Treatment, Punishment, Incapacitation, Youth and Families, Sociopolitical|
Professor, Human Development, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
Assistant Professor, Human Ecology, College at Oneonta, Oneonta, New York, USA
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