Sullivan County Juvenile and Adult Court Diversion Program. The Sullivan County Youth and Adult Diversion Program offers youth and adults the opportunity to learn from their offense through a contract. Contracts consist of community service hours, apology letters to victims and family members, research papers, tours of the Sullivan County Correctional Facility, teen groups, and referrals to outside resources. According to county officials, it is estimated that $2,500 per youth is saved when the youth participates in our Diversion Program in lieu of going through the court system. Referrals may come from courts, police, or School Resource Officers and can be made either before or after criminal charges have been filed. The fee for the program is assessed based on household income and ranges from $75 to $125 for Sullivan County residents and $150.00 for out-of-county residents.
What is Diversion? Court Diversion is an early-intervention program that works with first-time juvenile offenders. If accepted into the program, you will only be able to take advantage of it once; Diversion is a one-shot deal.
Diversion recognizes that you made a mistake. The program allows you the opportunity to take responsibility and learn from your mistakes without going to court and potentially having a juvenile record. It is up to you what you make of this opportunity.
The intent of this program is to help youths and their families learn to make better choices, so that they may reach their greatest potential as valuable members of society.
WARNING! Diversion is NOT an easy way out! You and your parents/guardians must be motivated to follow through and complete your Diversion Plan. You will be referred back to court if you do not successfully complete the program.
Who is Elgible? Local Police Department and/or court, along with the Court Diversion Program, will screen juvenile cases for initial acceptance into the program based upon the following criteria:
- It is your first offense
- You are willing to take full responsibility for the offense
- It is a chargeable offense; the facts of the case would justify a court hearing
- The facts of the police report are not contested
- Serious or physically aggressive offenses excluded
- Age limitations may vary
Intake Process. Once the referral is made by the police or juvenile court, you and at least one parent or guardian will meet with a Diversion Staff Member to gather background information, discuss the incident, the program and your responsibilities as a participant.
Information collected at this meeting is compiled, along with the police report and other records.
The Initial Hearing. You and at least one parent or guardian would then appear before the Juvenile Diversion Panel to discuss the situation and to determine an appropriate plan of accountability. This plan or “contract” is presented to you at this meeting. You will be asked to commit yourself to fulfilling this contract in the time given.
The Review Hearing. You must prove that you have completed your contract on time at the review hearing. Once this happens, the police department or court that referred you will be notified that your case is formally closed and you will have no criminal or juvenile record.
What Can a Diversion Contract Include?
- A formal apology
- Restitution for property loss or damage
- Community service
- A research paper or project
- A personal development project
Each case is unique, and the emphasis is to design a contract which taps into your strengths and interests. Contracts are personal, individual, creative and positive. They are meant to increase self-esteem, decision-making skills, and to reduce the likelihood of you committing future offenses.
What Could Cause You to Go Back to Court?
- If you or your parent request it
- Committing a second offense
- Not completing your contract in the time given to you
- Having a poor attitude or showing poor behavior
Why is Diversion Good for the Community?
- Effective means of reducing the cost of court intervention
- Involves members of the community in fostering the positive development of its youth
- Service projects for the communities in which we all live
- Avoids many of the negative consequences of labeling youths as “delinquents”
- Community-based alternative to community problems
- Empowering youths with the ownership of, and responsibility for, their community
- Educating families about other existing services
Is There a Fee for the Program? There is an administrative fee for the program. The fee is based upon residency in Sullivan County.
Click here to download our brochure.
Click here to register.