SHSU Award Presented for Probation Research

Dr. Natalie Pearl of San Diego County Probation.
Dr. Natalie Pearl of San Diego County Probation

The American Probation and Parole Association’s 2011 Sam Houston State University Award was presented to the Director of Research for San Diego County Probation for her study on a tool to help predict juvenile offenders’ risk of further trouble.

Dr. Natalie Pearl received the award at the APPA’s Annual Winter Institute in San Diego. The Sam Houston State University Award, first given in 1986, is a practitioner award presented to an individual who has published an article concerning probation, parole or community corrections, which provides new information and insight into the operation, effectiveness or future of the community corrections profession.

The article was published in Federal Probation.

The research tool is a 60-item survey of the risk factors and the positive influences in a young person’s life. Pearl’s research confirmed that the assessment is effective in predicting a juvenile’s risk of reoffending. But it also found that certain items on the survey were even more predictive than others.

Delinquency factors, as a group, are particularly powerful predictors of whether or not a youth will commit another crime. Delinquency factors include things like prior arrests, whether there is significant crime in the child’s neighborhood, whether the latest offense came while the youngster was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, a history of fights or assaults and a lack of community support, positive adult relationships, and structured activities.

The research is used by San Diego Probation Department to determine what level of supervision a young person should get in the community. Other items on the Risk and Resiliency Checkup are used to make a case plan to fit each individual youth. The American Probation and Parole Association is an international association composed of members from the United States, Canada and other countries actively involved with probation, parole and community-based corrections, in both adult and juvenile sectors. APPA has grown to become the voice for thousands of probation and parole practitioners including line staff, supervisors and administrators.

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