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Vanessa Sherman, Program Coordinator. Juvenile Diversion provides youth offenders an alternative to the court system, offering programming to youth and.

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Presentation on theme: "Vanessa Sherman, Program Coordinator. Juvenile Diversion provides youth offenders an alternative to the court system, offering programming to youth and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vanessa Sherman, Program Coordinator

2 Juvenile Diversion provides youth offenders an alternative to the court system, offering programming to youth and their parents aimed at strengthening family relationships and preventing future criminal behavior among young people. Diversion programming and expansion is of top priority for the Nebraska Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Currently 50 of Nebraska’s counties offer some type of diversion opportunity for youth offenders. University of Nebraska Omaha-Juvenile Justice Institute, Prepared for the Nebraska Crime Commission, “Nebraska State Three Year Plan ”, December

3 For every dollar spent on intervention programming for youth who are truant, using alcohol or drugs or committing other crimes, $4.89 in benefits is returned to society. 1 Studies of juvenile court diversion programs that worked with low- risk, first-time juvenile offenders estimate taxpayers save approximately $5,679 per participant in reduced criminal court and crime victim costs.2 1 Anton, Paul and Temple, Judy. “Analyzing the Social Return on Investment in Youth Intervention Programs,” March, Aos, Steve; Phipps, Polly; Barnoski, Robert; Lieb, Roxanne. “The Comparative Costs and Benefits of Programs to Reduce Crime,” Version 4.0, Washington State Institute for Public Policy, May

4 Youth are able to avoid a juvenile court record and instead are offered the opportunity to develop positive life skills and understand the importance of personal responsibility. Families are able to strengthen relationships with their child through improved communication skills. Communities benefit as youth understand their role in the community and develop positive attitudes as well as a sense of responsibility toward their community. Burdens on the county and justice system for cost of juvenile care, court appointed attorney’s fees, and increasing case loads are reduced with effective diversion programming. 4

5 What we know about youth offenders … 5

6 6 The program serves an average of 50 juveniles each year.

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10 10 Scores based on YLS/CMI assessments conducted on diversion & probation participants. District 2 data provided by Corey Steele, Juvenile Justice Specialist, State Probation.

11 11 Family Behavior/Attitudes Substance Use Leisure/Recreation Employment Education Peers Programming centered around these areas of focus for all youth and their families leads to measured success!

12 12 The program celebrates a success rate of 82%. Of all juveniles that have completed the program since its inception in 2004, 82% do not enter the juvenile justice system with another offense.

13 13 100% of participants successfully completed the program in

14 Youth have volunteered over 2,500 hours within Otoe County communities. Annual projects include: Bell Ringing for the Salvation Army Food Drive for SENCA food pantry Applejack Festival activities and cleanup Park Cleanup/Restoration 14

15 15 Increased family communication Benefit of family counseling and/or individual counseling Increased commitment to school Resistance to negative peer pressure Obeying house rules Obtaining a job Abstaining from substances Involvement in an extra- curricular activity Improved grades and attendance Fewer outbursts at home and/or school

16 Family I will continue to honor any curfew my parent/guardian designate and house rules, staying home at times stipulated by my parent/guardian. I will complete the repayment contract outlining tasks and/or money earned toward payment of the fee. I will attend assigned diversion sessions on… Behavior/Attitude I will act in a respectful and courteous manner. This includes behavior in class, at home, school, and any public place. I will complete my letter of commitment to the program by… I will write a letter of apology and give to the program coordinator by… I will complete appropriate assessments and/or explore counseling options. Substance Use I will abstain from use of alcohol, tobacco and any other drugs and I understand that being in the presence of such substances puts me at risk of another offense and possible termination from the program. 16

17 Leisure/Recreation I will explore opportunities for involvement in structured extra-curricular activities that best fit my strengths and abilities. I will complete 15 hours of volunteer community service. (Service must be in Otoe County and cannot be done for a relative.) Education/Employment I will provide the program coordinator with a grade report as requested. I will attend school on a daily basis and maintain passing grades at a 3 or above. I will pursue avenues of employment or attend work as scheduled by my employer. Peer Relationships I will associate myself with positive friends. If my parent/guardian choose to limit the persons with whom I associate I will not associate with those persons. 17

18 18 Youth must accept responsibility for his/her offense. Pay the diversion fee amount of $125 or more, depending on offense type. Receive no additional law violations while in the program. Attend class and/or individual sessions, parent/guardian attendance required at some sessions. Youth and parent/guardian must sign diversion the contract and agree to all terms. If terms are not followed consequences could include additional requirements, length in the program extended, and/or termination from the program.

19 Changes to the enrollment process has increased the enrollment percentage from 65% to 85%. The WhyTry curriculum motivates behavior change among youth offenders and is implemented in group and individual sessions. The Power of Parents program and Real Colors sessions have enhanced support and resources for families to help them understand their teen and strengthen family communication. In-school sessions with youth, attendance and grade checks are conducted weekly. The Nebraska Youth Screen (NYS) conducted on cited juveniles provides additional information to the County Attorney’s office and serves as a pre- screen for the diversion program. (17 screens were conducted by phone from October through December 2011, 10 were diversion eligible and all enrolled) Tier II programming is offered to 2 nd time youth offenders. Program waivers continue to be offered with 15 families requesting assistance this past year. 19

20 Vanessa Sherman, Program Coordinator 917 Wildwood Lane, Suite H Nebraska City, NE Website: Dave Partsch, Otoe County Attorney Tim Noerrlinger, Deputy Otoe County Attorney 115 N. 10 th Street Nebraska City, NE


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