I’m working on a writing discussion question and need an explanation to help me understand better.
Delaware is a jurisdiction that separates its juvenile court from the adult courts and correctional system. What are some advantages of having a separate system? Are there any disadvantages? What public policy considerations do you have for each position?
State of Delaware Diversion Programs by Court
A diversion program in the criminal justice system is a form of sentence in which the criminal offender joins a rehabilitation program, which will help remedy the behavior leading to the original arrest, and avoid conviction and a criminal record. The programs are often run by a police department, court, a district attorney’s office, or outside agency. Problem-solving courts typically include a diversion component as part of their program. The purposes of diversion are generally thought to include relief to the courts, police department and probation office, better outcomes compared to direct involvement of the court system, and an opportunity for the offender to avoid prosecution by completing various requirements for the program. These requirements may include:
- Education aimed at preventing future offenses by the offender
- Restitution to victims of the offense
- Completion of community service hours
- Avoiding situations for a specified period in the future that may lead to committing another such offense (such as contact with certain people)
Diversion programs often frame these requirements as an alternative to court or police involvement or, if these institutions are already involved, further prosecution. Successful completion of program requirements often will lead to a dropping or reduction of the charges. Failure to successfully complete will result in re-sentencing and the imposition of penalties and probation or stricter sanctions.
Diversion has played a key role in improving outcomes and rehabilitating youthful offenders. The concept of juvenile diversion is based on the theory that processing certain youth through the juvenile justice system may do more harm than good. Programs meant to divert juvenile delinquents are often fundamentally different from the programs meant for adults. Many times youth will present with substance abuse and mental health issues which may be the underlying cause of such delinquency.
A Juvenile Diversion program has the ability to be used as an intervention strategy for first time offenders who have broken the law and found themselves in the juvenile justice system (“Juvenile Diversion Programs”).There are many benefits to this program that include, avoiding the child from being influenced by more serious criminals in a juvenile detention center, allowing the courts to use resources that are needed for those juvenile delinquents who are an actual threat to the society, and getting the child help with drug addiction or family issues.
Court of Common Pleas Diversion Programs: Be advised that Drug Court no longer exists in any of the Courts and has been subsumed by other existing specialty or problem-solving courts.
Superior Court Diversion Programs
Family Court Diversion Programs
Statutory First Offenders Programs: First Offenders Domestic Violence, Probation Before Judgment (juveniles only)
Delaware Family Courts
- Read Family Court’s description of the differences between the adult process and the juvenile process.
- Read this study regarding the number of youth incarcerated, the types of crimes, and recommendations for justice-involved youth.
Video: Kids Behind Bars
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