Michael Bates, Director
WALLA WALLA COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF COURT SERVICES
Juvenile Diversion Program
Early Intervention at Work!
What is Diversion?
The Juvenile Justice Act of 1977 mandated the first state-wide Diversion Program in the nation for juveniles who have committed a lower level offense and have no criminal history. Youth and their parents meet with a Community Accountability Board (3-5 citizen volunteers) and/or a court representative who decide the appropriate consequences, outlined in a Diversion Agreement.
A Diversion Agreement holds youth accountable through:
- Community Service
- Written assignments
Youth & families are served by offering:
- Education & Informational sessions
- Alcohol & Other Drug Treatment
The Diversion Agreement balances the following three areas, offering youth an opportunity to “repair the harm” to the victim and community while building their own skills.
- Accountability: Every offender incurs a personal responsibility to restore both the victim’s and the community’s loss.
- Community Safety: The public has the right to safe and secure homes and communities.
- Competency Development: Offenders should leave the system more capable of living responsibility and productively in the community.
Diversion provides volunteers with the opportunity to participate in addressing the issue of local youth delinquency. This personal commitment results in substantial savings to the taxpayers. 25-30 volunteers in Walla Walla County are involved in the program to stress the fact that the community is concerned with children, adolescents, and their families. A Community Accountability Board (CAB) includes various members of the local community in which the juvenile offender resides. The intent is to impress upon the youth the connection between themselves, their community, and their offender activity.
The Juvenile Diversion Program Serves the Community by:
- Holding youth accountable
- Compensating victims
- Supporting families
- Relieving court congestion
- Engaging volunteers
The Differences Between Diversion and Juvenile Court
- Youth cannot be locked up
- Proceedings & records are confidential
- No court appearances, attorney not required
- Minimal costs/fees
- Faster resolution of case
- Not a conviction, should not affect the future
- Numerous court dates
- Judge and attorney involvement required
- Proceedings & records are public
- Higher costs/fees
- Slower resolution
- Is a conviction, must be reported to prospective employers
- Right to a trial
Still have questions?
Contact your local Diversion Unit:
Serving Walla Walla & Columbia Counties
Walla Walla County Juvenile Justice Center:
455 W. Rose Street Walla Walla, WA 99362
Phone: 509-524-2800 Fax: 509-524-2836
Leading Diversion Offenses: (2003-2006 annual averages)
- 33% - Shoplifting & minor theft
- 32% - Alcohol & other drug offenses
- 19% - Minor assaults, including domestic violence
- 16% - Other offenses include:
* Under age 16 driving offenses
* Obstructing an officer