Young Adults and Community Supervision

Report Data

Young adults are less likely than older adults to have remained on probation for the full term by the two-year point, and the majority of cases terminated by the two-year point were due to revocation rather than successful completion.

In fact, only 18 percent of 17- to 21-year-olds successfully completed and were terminated from felony probation in FY 2017. The rate was slightly better for 22-to 25-year-olds, with 41 percent successfully completing and being terminated from probation, compared to 60 percent of felony probationers over age 25. Sadly, nearly 7,400 young men and women had their probation revoked in FY 2017, with 7,000 young people committed to prison or jail.

Recent neuroscience research helps explain why young adults require specialized, age-appropriate interventions. The brain — and, in particular, the prefrontal cortex — continues to develop well into an individual’s twenties.

Young adults with a history of foster care placement are at particular risk of criminal justice system involvement. Nearly 70 percent of young males involved in the foster care system are arrested after leaving foster care, a rate that is 23 times higher than the general population; and 55.2 percent are convicted of a crime after leaving foster care.

The current standards of community supervision are ineffective for young adults and costly to taxpayers. In 2017, the 7,000 young people on adult felony probation who were incarcerated after a probation violation cost the state over $130 million. In comparison, if these young adults remained on standard probation, it would cost taxpayers approximately $4.5 million — a savings of $126 million.