Information for Court Systems
Through the SGEF Diversion Program youth can be held accountable for their crime through community service hours. There are multiple benefits to the individuals and their families who participate in this program. Some of these include:
- Parents and guardians must attend a class held specifically to address family needs and issues. These classes run separate from the youth program but held during the same time to accommodate a busy family/parent schedule.
- Youth can avoid a criminal record if successfully completing the program.
- Youth offenders learn ways to change their thought patterns to avoid making the same or similar mistake in the future.
- This is an accountability program. All participants must attend every single week and any week missed must be made up or they risk expulsion from the program. Homework is assigned every week and a law enforcement officer follows up weekly with everyone to assure they are maintaining curfew and other home and program rules.
- Random drug testing is held for all students. Any youth who does not pass is immediately assessed for AOD for any needed additional services and referred to weekly support groups, along with any other consequence the facilitator and/or officer imposes. Consistent failing of drug tests may result in expulsion of program and referral back to court.
Youth Diversion programs are a highly effective alternate to juvenile jail time. Enrollment in the SGEF Diversion Program allows youth the opportunity to not only deal with the consequences of their mistakes, but also works to help them understand how and why they ended up in the circumstances that led to the choice(s). It also allows the students to remain with their families to avoid financial cost to the community and family members of incarceration. Since we know that frequently the trauma of prison leads to mental health issues further adding to the already present challenges, Diversion avoids this by working weekly with the offender and their family with the support of a classroom facilitator, law enforcement officer and social worker assigned to the youth.
SGEF recognizes that peer influence plays a significant role into the behavior patterns and choices the youth make, which is why often juvenile detention centers eventually lead to an increase in destructive behaviors due to a constant surrounding of criminal behaviors. Through this program we take the peer influence and use is as a tool for positive change, encouraging students in the class to share the struggles they are experiencing and empowering them to become a support network for their classmates. Additionally, because each youth is assigned a social worker to follow them throughout the 10-week course, any other mental health issues that need to be addressed can be done so with appropriate referrals made.
To put in the simplest terms; it works. With over 80 percent of youth successfully transitioning out of the program and back into the community with no future offenses, we have seen an increase in referrals and requests from parents to enroll their child in class, some before an offense has even been committed. For more information on the positive impact Diversion programs have on youth offenders and their families, go to https://centerforprisonreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Jail-Diversion-Programs-in-America.pdf where you will find research and data that backs up all the claims made by successful programs. Please note not all Diversion Programs are equal…we encourage you to carefully research the programs format and structure as well as recidivism rates before referring an offender. For more information fill out the information form or contact Spring Green Educational Foundation at (419) 250-0810.