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Juvenile justice probation might do more harm than good

The South Carolina juvenile justice system is based on a delicate balance of reforming children who commit delinquent acts and punishing the children for those same acts. In the past, the trend regarding the outcome of the juvenile justice cases involved incarceration. It is now changing to lean more toward probation for these children, but some people are concerned that probation is leading children right back to juvenile incarceration facilities.

The conditions of probation are set by the judge who oversees the case. These conditions can vary greatly, but some of the conditions are so harsh that parents might have trouble coping with the effects of the conditions. For example, GPS monitoring is common in juvenile justice sentences involving probation. In some cases, the juvenile is also required to remain home. If the parent doesn't feel comfortable leaving the child at home alone, the parent might not be able to carry on necessary errands.

Considering the fact that juvenile justice probation sentences can last until a child is 21 years old, it is fairly easy to see why some children have difficulties complying with conditions such as always being obedient to parents, being of good behavior, always attending classes on time, and a host of other requirements. The probation officers are usually stuck in between a child who is having issues with technical violations and the juvenile court system. The probation officer sometimes can't help the child because of the court orders in place. That is when the technical violation might land the juvenile in juvenile hall.

Having a child facing the criminal justice system means having to find someone to advocate on the child's behalf. This is often the primary method that parents can use to ensure that the child is adequately represented throughout the juvenile justice process.

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