The Juvenile Diversion Program is an alternative to the traditional court process for eligible juvenile offenders.
The primary goal is to prevent further contact with the police and juvenile justice system by providing a variety of services to meet individual, family and community needs. These young people participate in Diversion with their parent or guardian.
Diversion programs focus on teaching skills and providing opportunities to practice those skills. Clients are assigned to programs based on their need. The length of time in Diversion varies depending upon the individual needs of the client.
The Juvenile Diversion program utilizes evidence-based intervention strategies that help prevent the youth from further penetrating the juvenile justice system while ensuring accountability and repairing harm.
Eligibility into the Juvenile Diversion program is established through a combination of legal criteria and an assessment of risk and need. When a case is submitted to the District Attorney’s Office, the juvenile will participate in an initial screen (ARNA) conducted by the 14th Judicial District Juvenile Services Program. The results of the ARNA screen will be used in conjunction with an individualized case assessment to determine if a juvenile meets criteria for the Juvenile Diversion program.
The following factors are utilized in the decision as to whether a juvenile is eligible for diversion:
- Results of the ARNA
- Nature of the offense
- Prior or current involvement with diversion, the juvenile system, and/or law enforcement
- Input of the victim
- Risk level to the community
- Needs of the juvenile
- Desire of the juvenile and family to participate in the diversion process
The decision as to whether a juvenile is eligible for diversion is done on a case by case basis and the District Attorney’s Office utilizes its discretion to make exceptions to the eligibility criteria as appropriate.