The Juvenile Arbitration Program is a community-based program that provides fast-track accountability for first-time youthful offenders charged with committing a nonviolent crime. These youth are diverted from the formal justice system to an arbitration hearing conducted in their community. Trained volunteer arbitrators conduct the hearings and monitor the youths’ progress throughout the program.
Participants in the arbitration process include a trained citizen volunteer, the youthful offender and his or her parent(s) or guardian(s), the crime victim, and the arresting officer. The youth’s participation is voluntary and requires an admission of facts or guilt. After determining the facts of the case, the arbitrator works with all participants to establish agreeable and appropriate sanctions for the youth to complete, ensuring that he or she repairs the harm caused to his or her victim(s) and community and learns from the experience. These actions may include:
Performing community service;
Attending educational programs and substance abuse programs;
Writing topical essays;
Apologizing to the victim(s);
Participating in victim impact panels and counseling;
Visiting correctional institutions or making other appropriate field trips.
Successful completion of the Arbitration Program enables the youth to make amends for his or her actions and avoid formal prosecution in court. If the youth does not successfully complete the program, he or she is referred to court for prosecution.
Second Judicial Circuit | Solicitor © 2023