The Sioux Council Juvenile Diversion Programs are designed to provide youth with a positive alternative to the court system. Youth participate in structured programs and group interactions which are intended to improve self-esteem, self-understanding, decision-making, communication, respect, responsibility, caring, and honesty. The goal is to divert youth away from the court system, assist local schools and reduce the recidivism among youth.
JUVENILE DIVERSION COORDINATOR:
TEEN COURT: Teen Court is a program for high school age youth conducted in partnership with the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney office.
Teen Court is open to motivated, first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders. The goal is to reduce recidivism through community service, positive peer pressure and structured activities.
· The youth must admit his/her offense and is sentenced by a jury of his/her peers
using community service, relevant classes and terms of jury duty.
· Teen volunteers participate as lawyers, jurors and bailiffs
· A local attorney acts as judge and adults act as the jury monitors.
Teen offenders benefit by having the opportunity to avoid a juvenile record by completing the sentence handed down by their peers. Teen volunteers who are interested in exploring a law career benefit from hands-on experience, public speaking, public service and responsibility by serving as lawyers, jurors and bailiffs.
SIOUX FALLS COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY BOARD: The CAB program was developed to serve the needs of youth being diverted by the Minnehaha States Attorney’s office from the court system for second and third time offenders. The objectives of the program is to:
· Utilize the resources already available in the community
· Individualize a diversion plan for each youth and their families to meet their
· Emphasis is put on rehabilitation and change while still holding the youth accountable for their actions.
CAB is comprised of a pool of community volunteers whom are chosen to serve on the board based upon their commitment to our community and their experience working with youth and families. These individuals are passionate about helping families connect with resources that will help address the root causes of the youth’s behaviors while still holding the youth accountable.
Meetings are held as needed with 4 members of the board and the youth with his/her family present to formulate a diversion plan based on the CAB’s Program Coordinators pre-meeting report and the family’s objectives. The diversion agreement can include counseling, CD assessments, weekly check in’s, family therapy, community service, restitution and/or utilization of other relevant community resources. The diversion agreement will have 120 days to be completed and have concrete goals and objectives.