Webinars Spotlight Juvenile Court Diversion Programs

Posted January 7, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
A young person

Two new webi­na­rs help prac­ti­tion­ers and com­mu­ni­ty-based orga­ni­za­tions explore the use of diver­sion from juve­nile court pro­cess­ing. The ses­sions sup­port the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s vision for juve­nile pro­ba­tion trans­for­ma­tion, which calls for remov­ing a greater share of cas­es from the juve­nile court sys­tem to focus pro­ba­tion on youth who pose sig­nif­i­cant risk for seri­ous reof­fend­ing. This includes divert­ing youth from the for­mal court pro­cess­ing and any form of pro­ba­tion supervision.

Diver­sion prac­tices typ­i­cal­ly pro­duce bet­ter out­comes for youth than for­mal sys­tem involve­ment and move youth away from deep­er jus­tice-sys­tem involve­ment, accord­ing to research.

Bal­anc­ing Account­abil­i­ty and Sup­port Through Juve­nile Court Diversion

The first 60-minute webi­nar, Bal­anc­ing Account­abil­i­ty and Sup­port, fea­tures three lead­ers who launched and sus­tained pre-adju­di­ca­tion diver­sion pro­grams in Philadel­phia, Los Ange­les Coun­ty, Cal­i­for­nia, and Mem­phis, Ten­nessee. Par­tic­i­pants learn what moti­vat­ed the lead­ers and their juris­dic­tions to increase diver­sion, how they imple­ment­ed their pre-arrest diver­sion pro­grams, and what data and out­comes they are tracking.

How to Start a Juve­nile Court Diver­sion Pro­gram and Make it Work

The sec­ond 60-minute webi­nar, How to Start a Diver­sion Pro­gram and Make it Work, con­tin­ues the case stud­ies in Philadel­phia, Los Ange­les Coun­ty and Mem­phis. The pan­elists describe how they addressed com­mon issues, such as:

  • ensur­ing race equi­ty in access to diversion;
  • enlist­ing law enforce­ment, pros­e­cu­tors and oth­ers to try respons­es out­side of court;
  • secur­ing funding;
  • iden­ti­fy­ing and sup­port­ing grass­roots com­mu­ni­ty part­ners; and
  • assess­ing and heal­ing youth who have expe­ri­enced trauma.

John Cookus, an assis­tant pro­fes­sor at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia, mod­er­ates both webi­na­rs. The fol­low­ing experts joined Cookus:

The Casey Foundation’s JDAI® train­ing part­ner, the Pre­tri­al Jus­tice Insti­tute, orga­nized both webinars.

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