Learning From Mistakes
The Juvenile Diversion Program is a voluntary program offered to youth between the ages of 12-17, who are first time criminal offenders. The juvenile must have a pending criminal charge to be offered the Juvenile Diversion Program. Certain eligibility requirements must be met to be eligible for the program. Diversion ensures no record of conviction, if the juvenile successfully completes the program.
The mission of the Campbell County-City of Gillette Juvenile Diversion Program is to turn mistakes made by first time offenders into an educational opportunity and decrease future criminal recidivism. The Juvenile Diversion Program also serves to identify juveniles that are beyond the scope of the diversion program and direct them to other resources.
The Juvenile Diversion Program began in 1999, largely in response to the overload of the juvenile court system. It has been very successful for first-time juvenile offenders by providing services on the front end rather than after the juvenile offender has become involved in the court system. The Campbell County Juvenile Diversion Program is housed in the County Attorney’s Office.
Difference Between Diversion & Other Programs
It is the goal of the program to develop a positive rapport with the juvenile and their family so the juvenile comes away from the experience a better person and an advocate to other youth in positive decision making.
Currently, the Diversion Program is funded through a variety of sources. The County Attorney’s Office funds two full-time diversion officer positions and a full time administrative assistant. The City of Gillette funds one full time diversion officer position and splits the cost with the County of the Community Service Director based on the tickets issued.
Encouraging Youth & Families
The goal of the diversion program is to complete the following steps:
- Bolster self esteem and expose the juvenile to pro-social activities
- Create an appreciation for the criminal justice system
- Hold a juvenile accountable for their thinking and behavior, resulting in more positive decisions
- Improve performance in school
- Increase communication between parents and juvenile
- Work together to strengthen the family unit and change criminal thinking patterns
Words From Those Involved
“I thought it was kind of fun. Corrective Thinking helped me understand how my choices affected my family.”
-Megan (Diversion Youth)
“The Diversion Officers are committed to one-on-one interaction with youth, and as a result, great things are being accomplished.”
-Jeani Stone (Deputy County Attorney)
“The Corrective Thinking Classes allowed my daughter to see herself in a different light.”
-Randi (Parent of Diversion Youth)
“I’m glad I went through Diversion. It put my life back on the right track. The program improved my relationship with my family and taught me the value of trust.”
-Kalli (Diversion Youth)