A Program of the Learning
For Life Division
The Need ...
Daily we hear of a barrage of tragedies at the hands of juvenile violence and crime. One million young people under 18 years of age appear in juvenile courts for delinquency or status offenses each year. The Viking Council Juvenile Diversion Program was established to encourage and guide these young people to become aware of the future and develop the necessary skills needed to succeed. The Diversion Office has developed a balanced program of meetings and activities, which includes combining community service, with learning about the court and legal system, conflict resolution, making better choices and planning for their future.
The Viking Council Juvenile Diversion Program is a pre-trial program for minors, conducted through the efforts of the Boy Scouts. The purpose of the program is to provide first-time youth offenders a positive alternative to juvenile court. Young offenders facing criminal charges will have the opportunity to participate in the program which, through structured activities, aims to improve attitudes about the legal system, self-image, teaching better methods of communication, conflict resolution and preventing a decision to break the law again.
Who is Eligible..
Referrals to the program are made by local police departments. Participants must be between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. Other factors include; no prior criminal convictions, severity of the offense, facts sustaining proof of the alleged offense, and surrounding circumstances.
An interview consists of a written questionnaire as well as meeting with a diversion officer. The youth and a parent or guardian must be present for such an interview. Upon completion of an interview and with consensus of the diversion officer, youth and parent or guardian, the diversion contract must be signed before admission.
Program Outline. .
Meetings are held on a twice a month basis for a six month period.
Successful Completion. .
Upon successfully completing the program requirement, the alleged offense will be dismissed by the County Attorney. However, should a youth not meet such requirements, they will be redirected to the County Attorney for the purpose of prosecution.
The use of volunteers is essential in the
implementation of this program. Each group has two or three trained adult
group leaders assigned. A volunteer is responsible for arranging speakers,
activities and tours, facilitating each program meeting, providing guidance
and encouragement, and serving as a positive role model.
Program Benefits ...
By providing this opportunity, youth
are given the chance to maintain a clear record, while still being held
accountable. The program saves tax dollars. It also saves the cost and time
of judges, prosecutors, probation officers and clerical staff, thus allowing
juvenile court more time to address more serious matters requiring court
Exploring Outreach ...
The Juvenile Diversion Program is operated through the Exploring and Learning For Life Division. Each participant is registered and able to participate in Exploring activities.
The Viking Council Juvenile Diversion Program provides a positive alternative to formal court proceedings for motivated first time offenders. Through structured activities and community service, the program aims to reduce the recidivism rate among these youthful offenders.
A special thank you to
Greater Twin Cities United Way General Mills
Now serving the
following communities: Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Brooklyn Park,
For more information contact:
Last Update February 11, 2004