Juvenile Delinquency Diversion Program
PURPOSE: Provide efficient and innovative alternatives for children who commit non-serious delinquent acts to ensure swift and appropriate progress in their behavior.
METHOD: After school program that teaches social skills, and provides clinicians to implement assessments.
PROCESS: Counselors provide the agency with a assessment. Upon client assessment both the family and child will be assisted and individualize service plan is developed.
IMPACT: Will reduce juvenile arrests and further victimization by targeting resiliency factors within the community, school and individual/peers.
What Is Juvenile Delinquency Diversion?
Civil Citation: The Police Department decides how to address juvenile misdemeanor first offences
The Juvenile Division : The State Attorney’s Office decides how to address juvenile law violations; they may:
- Initiate court action, or
- Divert the case away from court into a diversion program
Diversion programs typically provide services that address:
- Youth Accountability (restitution, community service, etc.)
- Youth Competency (school, family, peers, treatment needs)
- Public Safety (monitoring offender at home/ school, behavior, curfews, etc).
Method of Service Delivery
Providing highly-structured diversion alternatives that are offense-appropriate for public safety, with interventions that decrease the likelihood of re-offending. The program shall incorporate accountability activities, counseling, family support services and youth development activities that strengthen protective factors and reduce risk factors that lead to delinquent and maladaptive behavior.
The goal of FOCUS program is to accomplish the following:
- Recidivism will be decreased.
- Youth risk factors will be reduced. Youth protective factors will be increased.
- Youth will be linked to, and effectively receive, appropriate services to meet their social, educational and health needs.
- Youth will achieve/maintain improved school performance, attendance and behavior.
- Family relationships will be strengthened and improved.
- Youth attachment to community will be strengthened.
- Youth will participate in activities which hold offenders accountable for their offenses and help restore the victim and the community, such as restitution, - community service, apology letters, victim offender dialogues/conferencing, victim awareness seminars, etc.
- Youth will demonstrate an increased awareness of victim impacts and victim rights.
The Impact of Diversion on the Community
The concerns of policy makers and practitioners is the cost of diversion programs relative to their benefits.
Therapeutic interventions returned an average of $9 for every dollar invested.
Diversion programs are much less expensive than the costs associated with juvenile crime.
The cost of housing a juvenile offender in… correction facilities during 2004 was $68,255 - a figure projected to increase nearly 20 percent by 2007. This does not include costs to crime victims or to society for future adult crime and incarceration.
The average cost per child for the most effective prevention programs was well under $10,000 per year, or 85 to 90 percent lower than in a corrections facility (Research Identifies Cost-Effective Delinquency Prevention Programs, 09/28/2005).
Harmony Development Center, Inc. has become a critical component to Broward County’s success in reducing juvenile delinquency. HDC’s CEO has been invited to sit on numerous panels and planning boards to address this issue. HDC’s success lies in its numbers. Harmony’s consistent success rate is Over 92% of juveniles who complete the program have not re-offended within 12 months of discharge.
Why Should Juvenile Offenders Be Provided with Judicial Diversion Opportunities?
Research indicates that diversionary programs
Saves Resources (Frees up courts)
More Effective (Faster response time)
Community Savings (1% reduction in juvenile recidivism rates can save $15.4 million over a five-year period -Report No. 02-62)
Reduces the Negative Impacts of Juvenile Justice System Exposure
Impacts Minority Over-Representation (Front-end solutions)
Makes Sense Of all of Florida juvenile offenders:
59% never return after first their arrest
27% commit a few offenses
14% are likely to become repeat offenders
 www.ncjrs.org/works/wholedoc.htm -- Sherman et al Preventing Crime: What Works, What Doesn’t, What’s Promising