Processing the Juvenile Offender: Diversion, Informal Handling, and Special Dockets
The current focus of juvenile justice is on restorative justice. This involves cooperating with community service agencies and other justice agencies to serve the best interests of the community, the victims, and the youth involved in the offenses.
Total diversion from court involvement can occur if the youth is counseled by the police and released or through referral to a child service agency. Youth referred to the court for status offenses, such as running away from home, disobeying parents, truancy, and curfew violations are often diverted from the courts.
Diversion programs vary in the functions served. Some are designed to focus on special problems, such as alcohol and drug abuse, sexual deviancy, anger management, mental health, and others. Some courts have established special dockets referred to as drug courts, family courts, and anger management courts. Youths who are diverted through informal processing community service are expected to give back something to the community, generally in the form of community service.
KeywordsDiversion Intake officer Informal (unofficial) probation Restorative justice Youth courts Special docket courts
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