Diversion

A Juvenile Review Board (JRB) is a community-based diversion process for youth that may otherwise be referred to the Juvenile Court for minor violations of the law. Although there is no specific enabling statute establishing a JRB, the Youth Service Bureau (YSB) JRB model has been in existence for 50 years in Connecticut.

Although state agencies, courts, legislators, child advocates, academics and other juvenile justice professionals have only more recently fully discovered the benefits and advantages of the diversion of youth to a JRB, the concept, in the form of the YSB JRB model, has been ongoing for decades in Connecticut with much success.

One of the features of the JRB model that sets it apart from other programs designed to assist youth and families, and one of the reasons for its success, is that each JRB program is unique to the community it serves. Absent a law mandating how a JRB must be established and operated, each community is able to establish and operate their program in a manner that meets the needs of the community, including the ability to amend the program as each community’s needs change.

While it is critical to the continued success of the JRB model that such flexibility in the establishment and operation of JRBs be permitted, it is recognized that some consistency should exist throughout the state and additionally, some core components and principles should be adopted and incorporated into all existing and future JRBs. The membership of CYSA, led by our Juvenile Justice Liason, has worked to develop documents aimed at identifying those core components and principals to guide the JRB process. 

For more information on JRBs (including how to start one in your community) please contact Erica Bromley, Juvenile Justice Liason for CYSA at ebromley@ctyouthservices.org.


Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee's "Statewide Diversion System" Plan (Jan. 2017)

In 2015, the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee (JJPOC) adopted a strategic goal to increase diversion over a three-year period. A diversion workgroup was convened to develop strategies to achieve this goal. Section 18 (k) of Public Act 16-147, An Act Concerning the Recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Oversight Committee, requires the JJPOC to submit a plan, including cost options, for the development of a Community-Based Diversion system.

The Community-Based Diversion System Plan provides a roadmap for effective, developmentally appropriate, community-based responses to divert youth from the juvenile justice system. By creating a “system” of early identification, assessment and intervention, the individual criminogenic, social/emotional, behavioral, mental health and academic needs of at-risk pre-delinquent and delinquent youth can be addressed within the context of their family, school, and community such that no child is entered into the juvenile justice system without having exhausted appropriate community resources.

The Community-Based Diversion System Plan focuses on the underlying symptoms of the behavior and puts early intervention supports in place. Ensuring screening and service matching to the needs that led to the behaviors has been proven to ensure long-term behavior change versus imposing sanctions. By getting at and addressing the root cause of the behaviors, continued involvement in the juvenile justice system is likely to decrease. The diversion decision points range from the identification of the defiant or illegal behavior either at or prior to the point of police contact, to pre- and post-petition, and up to the time just prior to formal adjudication in Juvenile Court.

To see the entire plan - Click Here


 As noted, the following materials were developed by CYSA to assist in the operation of JRBs:

JRB Protocols and Procedures Manual - Click Here

JRB Protocols and Procedures Manual Appendix - Click Here (printable sample contracts, forms, surveys, etc.)

JRB Data Collection Form - Click Here

 

JRB Publications & Reports - Click Here

 

JJPOC Community Based Diversion System Plan - Click Here

Testimony RB 7286 - JJPOC Recommendations  -  Click Here