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  • Juvenile Justice

     

    The District Attorney’s Juvenile Unit handles offense committed by youths between 10 and 17 years of age. The juvenile justice system is separate and distinct from the adult criminal justice system; it is essentially a civil process with a treatment component designed to use quick and targeted intervention as the best approach to changing behavior of young offenders.

    Juvenile case filings dropped by 67% from 2001 to 2015. Much of this success is due to the innovative approaches used to promote public safety through better decision-making and cutting-edge, collaborative programs designed to change behavior.

    Juvenile Diversion Program

    First-time, non-violent juvenile offenders may be accepted into the Juvenile Diversion Program. Upon successful complete the requirements of the one-year program their case will be dismissed. This is a very effective program and has maintained a recidivism rate below 10% for the last five years.

     

    Sexting Solutions

    While sexting is criminal behavior, existing laws have been too extreme for the conduct. The Sexting Solutions program was developed by the District Attorney’s Office in response to the challenges created by teens who engage in sexting. The program addresses the underlying issues that lead to sexting. The program helps youth build boundaries and self-esteem and helps parents understand their role in the process.

     

    Juvenile Mental Health Court

    Many times young offenders end up involved in illegal activity as a result of untreated mental illness. This Juvenile Mental Health Court gives youth, and their families, the opportunity to address their criminal behavior and mental health issues.

     

    Juvenile Assessment Center

    The Juvenile Assessment Center provides a collaborative approach to evaluating youths at the entry-point of the juvenile justice system. Juvenile offenders are assessed by experts from law enforcement, human service agencies, the school district, human services, and the District Attorney’s Office to determine the best course of action.

     

    Low-Risk Offender Program

    This partnership with the Juvenile Assessment Center offers low-risk juvenile offenders a quick treatment plan addressing issues underlying their criminal conduct. Low-risk offenses can include curfew violations, possession of alcohol by a minor, shoplifting, etc. If the youth successfully complete the program, no criminal case is filed. The program has a 95-98% success rate.

     

    Youngers Program

    The single biggest predictor of future delinquency among juveniles is their age at first offense. The younger the juvenile, the greater is the risk for future offenses. Our Youngers Program is a multi-disciplinary approach to young offenders, ages 10-12, which focuses on short-term intervention addressing specific needs and risks. The program is designed to reduce recidivism and to keep young offenders out of detention centers.

     

    Sex Offender Community Supervision

    Juveniles arrested for certain sex offenses are supervised by the District Attorney’s community safety officer (CSO). They are closely monitored in sex offender treatment and a safety plan is developed for home, school, and for others who have contact with the juvenile.

     

    Truancy Court

    Habitual truancy is a significant factor when addressing future juvenile delinquency. The District Attorney’s partnership with the courts created a Truancy Court aimed at intervening with high-risk youth to overcome the underlying causes of truancy.