Why is a Pre-Court referral so critical?
Juvenile Court Diversion Programs have maximum impact if they are able to work with youth immediately after the first arrest-able offense, BEFORE the youth is brought before a judge. While programs are able to accept referrals that are “placed on file” in court, direct referrals from police departments and prosecutors:
- Enable the community to handle the consequences, so caseloads for Juvenile Probation and Parole Officers are not needlessly increased.
- Allow Judges to focus on serious offenses.
- Diversion consequences are often tougher than court, higher accountability and comprehensive.
- Leaves fear of court as leverage for those that need to enter Juvenile Justice system for noncompliance.
Most Common Reasons for Referral
In a 2013 survey of 49 NH Police Chiefs, the most common offenses referred to diversion included (click image to enlarge):
Diversion Offers A Comprehensive Approach
Law enforcement has 3 options when juveniles commit arrestable offenses: to warn/counsel and release the youth, the fully prosecute them in juvenile court, or refer them to an accredited Juvenile Court Diversion Program for a comprehensive model averaging an 86% completion rate across New Hampshire.
If you have any questions, please contact the program in your area for details about eligibility.