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Welcome to the Santa Cruz County
Probation Department

Santa Cruz County’s award-winning Probation Department improves the community by helping families and individuals restore their lives and look forward to a brighter future.

Regarded as a nationwide leader, the department promotes public safety and productive lives at all phases of the criminal justice system by focusing on evidence-based practices, custody alternatives and the humane treatment of youth and adult clients.

The Department operates as an arm of the Court, and is responsible for services required by the Adult and Juvenile Courts, including pretrial assessments, probation, post-trial alternative custody and juvenile detention. The department is divided into three divisions: Adult, Juvenile, and Institutions (Juvenile Hall).

In 1999, we became a model site for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, which has since been replicated nationwide, saving millions and resulting in dramatic reductions to unnecessary youth incarceration. We have also been a leader in criminal justice reforms following AB 109, and in 2013 were chosen as one of three pilot sites nationally to roll out a Laura and John Arnold Foundation risk-assessment tool for those entering the criminal justice system.

We also sponsor the nationally recognized Azteca Youth Soccer Program, which brings together at-risk youth, often from competing gang affiliations, in a productive environment that encourages understanding through teamwork.

Our department acknowledges the important role which crime victims play in the justice system, and hopes to work with crime victims and offenders to move towards helping to repair the harm caused by crime. Where appropriate, our voluntary Victim/Offender Dialogue Program offers a chance for offenders and victims to come up with a mutually agreeable plan that addresses the harm caused by the crime.

Our Vision is to be a leader and an active partner with the community in promoting safety and in building productive futures through Integrity, Excellence, Compassion, Creativity, Respect, and Fairness.

We also promote the following four principles:

  • Community Safety and Health
  • Offender Accountability & Opportunity for a Positive Change
  • Justice for Victims
  • Respect and Fairness for All


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