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Montana Completes Probation Workload Assessment

Through an SJI grant, the Montana Office of Court Administration has successfully completed a juvenile probation workload assessment study.  The final report documents the challenges associated with providing quality supervision to Montana youth, while balancing caseloads, pretrial assessments, and essential probation department functions.

This report is the culmination of a collaborative effort between staff at the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) and the Workload Guidance Committee, which was comprised of 14 leaders from 12 judicial districts and the Office of Court Administration.  Guidance Committee members focused their efforts on ensuring the quality of this assessment by assisting juvenile probation staff with tracking time, and arranging for stakeholders to share their views, experiences, and insights at the focus groups.

States are encouraged to determine local workloads based on carefully conducted time studies.  The final report notes, “Juveniles usually enter the juvenile justice system through contact with law enforcement, although they may be referred to juvenile probation by other agencies and parents. The juvenile justice system is designed to keep youth out of the deep end of the criminal justice system.  It also is effective in helping the District/Youth Courts from becoming over-burdened with relatively minor offenses that can be handled more swiftly by juvenile probation through the informal process.”

Included in the final report are workload essentials and measurements, as well as findings and next steps.