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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
678-208-9200Available 24/7

Diversion Programs: The Alternative to Juvenile Detention

 Posted on September 04, 2018 in Criminal Defense

IL defense lawyerHearing your child is on the path to juvenile detention can be a parent’s worst nightmare. Juvenile detention may be the adolescent alternative to incarceration; however, it does not make the situation any less concerning. Research has found that many offenders in juvenile detention have minor offenses and mental health issues, thus complete separation from their families and community is often ineffective and unnecessary. In order to avoid placing all youths into juvenile detention, diversion programs have been created as an alternative.

What Are Diversion Programs?

The purpose of diversion programs is to redirect youthful offenders from the justice system through programming, supervision, and supports. This is a way to avoid taking children away from their family and school community which often offers more help to individuals than being removed from their comfort zone. Diversion programs are often utilized by those who committed minor offenses. The idea is that becoming involved in their community, along with guidance from others, can help them learn how to become a positive addition to society.

Common services of diversion programs include education and tutorial services, victim awareness classes and activities, substance use education and counseling, mental health treatment, crisis intervention, and family counseling. Chicago has its own diversion program for adolescents within its borders.

The Juvenile Justice Diversion Project (JJDP) was originally used to address gang violence. Sociologist Clifford Shaw sought out a way to reduce gang violence in Chicago to minimize its influence on young people. Today, JJDP is used for first-time offenders, integrating youths into neighborhood programs for positive community education. Chicago, along with many other cities, has incorporated similar programs into their justice system.

Benefits of Diversion Programs

Diversion programs have many benefits, both for the individual and community. These include:

  • Avoiding the slippery slope of involvement in the justice system at a young age;
  • Fewer home displacement for youths;
  • Maintaining an adolescent community by having students grow together rather than separating them from their homes;
  • A decrease in costs for the family and community; and
  • Avoiding a criminal conviction record.

Call Our DuPage County Criminal Defense Attorneys

If your child has gotten his or herself into a legal situation that is leaning towards juvenile detention, our DuPage County juvenile crimes attorneys can provide legal assistance. The lawyers at the office of Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. have experience with juvenile justice throughout the Chicagoland area. Call our office at 630-472-9700 for a free consultation.


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