Chief Probation Officer supports improved juvenile probation programs

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Juvenile incarceration in Santa Barbara County is declining and a new $795,000 grant from the state will be used to try to further that trend. The money will go towards what the county calls “evidence-based, trauma-informed and culturally relevant diversion programs” that deal with reasoning and anger management, among other things.

“Responding with incarceration or high levels of supervision really does not bode well for most kids,” says Santa Barbara County’s Chief Probation Officer, Tanja Heitman. “A more cautious approach should be taken.”

She says that harsh interventions should only be used for those kids at the highest risk of continuing to engage in criminal behavior.

In 2019, California’s rate of juvenile incarceration was at one of the lowest rates in history.

California’s level of juvenile incarceration continues to decline. Santa Barbara County officials give enhanced probation programs credit for the shift. Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara County.




Carolina Starin