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Understanding Youth Diversion Programs in the Illinois Justice System

 Posted on January 31, 2020 in Juvenile Law

Wheaton juvenile reform defense attorneyWe all remember when we were teenagers, and in many cases, we did not make the best decisions, which may have gotten us into trouble. As a parent, you can relate to the feeling of being a juvenile, but hearing that your child has run into trouble with the law can be especially concerning. Unfortunately, teens getting into legal trouble is not uncommon. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), more than 728,000 juveniles were arrested for various crimes in 2018. One of the goals of the juvenile justice system is to help kids get on the right path in life, rather than punishing them for making mistakes. With this in mind, youth diversion programs have become a popular part of juvenile sentencing throughout Illinois and the United States.

What Are Youth Diversion Programs?

One of the main purposes of having a juvenile participate in a diversion program is to avoid putting him or her through the traditional criminal justice system for a minor offense. Youth diversion programs vary in how they operate and are structured, but the essential goal is to provide an intensive and holistic approach to address delinquent behavior. In many situations, the adolescent's family will be included in the diversion program to help encourage their child to reform. Typical services in youth diversion programs can include:

  • Screenings and assessments

  • Educational services

  • Service-learning programs

  • Substance abuse counseling and education

  • Mental health treatment

  • Family counseling

  • Parenting skill development

  • Crisis intervention

Benefits of Youth Diversion Programs

There are many positives to youth diversion programs, which is why they are often preferred for teens who have committed minor offenses. Benefits of diversion programs can include:

  • Allowing the juvenile a chance at reformation.

  • Reducing the chance that the teen will commit further crimes.

  • Keeping the youth in his or her environment and increasing community involvement.

  • Treating the underlying issues as to why the teen acted out and committed a crime.

  • Reducing costs by limiting the amount of time in court and the prison system.

Has Your Child Gotten into Legal Trouble? Call Our Wheaton, IL Juvenile Defense Attorneys Today

If your child is under the age of 18 and has been accused of committing a crime, you should immediately get in touch with a skilled DuPage County juvenile defense lawyer. Having a conviction on your child’s criminal record can affect them for the rest of their lives; do not let one small mistake cost your child his or her future. To get started, contact our office today at 630-580-6373 to schedule a free initial consultation.


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