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Go ahead, reinvent probation again - but do it right

Go ahead, reinvent probation again - but do it right

Probation was a concept dreamed up in the mid-1800s by a Boston boot maker who saw the folly of throwing children into jail for petty crimes. If he could give them a better chance outside of jail and show them the way toward a successful adulthood, he figured, then everyone — the kids, their families, their neighborhoods, the taxpayers, the overcrowded jails — would be better off. And if it worked for children, wouldn't it work for adults too?

But John Augustus' notion that probation's mission is to rehabilitate has sometimes been forgotten. By the beginning of the 21st century, many probation departments — with their networks of juvenile halls and camps —...

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