The following is a representation of the order of events that can be expected as a participant in the Diversion Program. The dates and information in parenthesis are examples of what “Johnny Walker’s” contract would contain.
Juvenile: Johnny Walker, Age 15
Crime: Vandalism, breaking windows of businesses downtown
Grade Point Average: 1.8
School Discipline Record: 4 incidents requiring ISS and 1 for violence resulting in OSS for 2 days.
Prior Criminal History: None (which is required, besides tobacco and traffic violations, in order to be offered Diversion)
Receives invitation letter: November 5 – has 5 business days to respond in order to avoid Court
Contacts Juvenile Diversion Coordinator: November 8 - makes informative meeting appointment for the next day
Informative meeting (November 9): During this initial meeting the child and his parents meet with the Juvenile Diversion Program Coordinator. At this time, the program requirements and contract are discussed. During this meeting all questions are addressed; there is no commitment made at this first meeting. It is encouraged that all adults legally responsible for the child attend this meeting to hear first person what the program entails. At the conclusion of this meeting, the family is requested to notify the Coordinator within 2-3 days of their intent to participate in the program or go to court. If no contact by the family is made within this time, then it is assumed that the family has declined the Diversion program.
Intake Interview (November 11): If the decision to participate in the Diversion Program is made, then a second meeting will be scheduled. The second meeting is the commitment meeting. It is at this time that the child and the family become legally bound by the program contract and all parties involved sign the contract and waivers. All regulations of the Diversion Program become effective on this date.
Program Participation (November 11- May 11): The first 30 days (November 11-December 11) of the program are fairly restrictive. All participants have a 7pm curfew and can expect to take a random urinalysis within the first month on the program. This first month is when the tone of the program is established between the participant and program staff. Upon completion of the first month, the program is then adapted to the participant’s individual situation. Any positive and constructive activities with which the participant is involved are in no way infringed upon at any time during the program, including the first 30 days. The program is intended to create an opportunity for the child, parents, and community members (specifically school staff) so as to address issues that have led to the criminal activity. The source for deviance ranges from “just a stupid mistake,” to serious personality disorder or family issues. The Coordinator can determine whether counseling is required for individuals or family. The program is designed to help create an environment that addresses poor decision while implementing a support net for the participant and his/her family for after completion of the program. Throughout the program, there are routine consultations with the family to make sure that issues are addressed and that all parties stay on the same page.
Program Expectations (6 months and 25 hours of community service for misdemeanors and 12 months and 50 hours of community service for felonies; Home Work Club until a 2.0 is obtained): All participants are required to do community service. The amount of hours required depend on the type of offense. The community service can entail any voluntary assistance by the participant; community service does not have to be through a non-profit entity to count toward completion of hours. The duration of the program is also dependent on type of offense. For misdemeanors, the community service hours are 25 hours, and time of program is usually 6 months; felonies are 50 hours and 12 months. If there is property of substantial value damaged or stolen, then there is restitution that is paid. If there is more than one person involved in the offense, all parties are responsible for the restitution. Restitution is the financial compensation paid to the victim; this is different from fines, which are monies paid to the government body. There is also a program cost of $50 that all participants are expected to pay. Success in school is predictive of future success; as a result, all participants are expected to achieve reasonable success in school. The program specifies that a “C” average be maintained while participating in the program. The main objective, however, is to encourage active participation in school. Consistent attendance and effort is the true goal of the GPA requirement and the grades usually follow. If the participant struggles with courses, there is the Homework Club which provides a designated time to study and tutoring is also provided if needed.
Program Graduation (Completed May 11): When the participant has successfully completed specific program requirements (community service, restitution if applicable, and school performance), then the Coordinator fully evaluates the participant’s history throughout the program. If there is still time left on the contract, but the participant has completed a substantial portion of their contract period (usually at least half of the contracted time), the decision may be made to graduate the participant early from the program. If the full program period has been met and all other obligations are also met, then the participant is considered to have successfully graduated from the Diversion Program. The Coordinator then writes a letter of completion recommendation to the County Attorney’s office. Once the County Attorney receives this letter, and agrees with the recommendation, then a formal graduation letter is sent to the participant. It is important to note that the child is not considered successfully completed from the Diversion Program until having recieved the graduation letter from the County Attorney’s office.
Program Revocation: If the unfortunate circumstance of revocation occurs, then the County Attorney’s office will inform the participant and family of this decision. It should be understood that the Juvenile Diversion Coordinator does not make this decision; the Program Coordinator and the High Risk Youth Department of the Laramie Police Department inform the County Attorney of offenses committed by the participant, but the decision to revoke a child is made by the County Attorney. Revocation is a rare incident and last resort for all participants. If the participant re-offends during the program or is deemed non-compliant then revocation from the program will result. Furthermore, more than one failed urinalysis is grounds for revocation from the program.