Breaking News
More () »

District attorney in Athens announces partnership for youth diversion program

DA Deborah Gonzalez announced a partnership with the Georgia Conflict Center to create the program.

ATHENS, Ga. — The district attorney in Athens has announced a new program aimed at keeping young people out of jail and improving outcomes for youth involved in the criminal justice system.

DA Deborah Gonzalez announced her office's Juvenile Restorative Justice Diversion Program in partnership with the Georgia Conflict Center.

A release said eligible participants would include those 16 and under and be identified through the DA's Office. If they choose to participate, they will be referred to the Georgia Conflict Center with a "case manager and a trained facilitator to conduct conferencing."

"The program is entirely voluntary for both victim and offender, and if either declines to participate the case will be returned to the traditional court system," the release said. 

The goal of the conferencing process, the release said, will be "an agreed-upon plan for the offender to address the harm caused to the victim, their family, the community as a whole, and themselves."

"Once this plan is successfully completed the case is considered closed and the offender will not have a criminal record created," the release added. "If the program is not successfully completed, the case will be sent back to the court for redetermination."

In a statement, Gonzalez said: "This program highlights the viewpoint of the DA’s office that restorative justice and diversion programming are essential components of an effective justice system.”  

"Current responses to juvenile delinquency have proven ineffective. A staggering number of mid-risk youth are being funneled into the court system, resulting in a drain on resources that should be focused on higher-risk youth for the purpose of community safety, and not negatively impacting long-term outcomes for these mid-risk youths," Gonzalez's office said. "With the creation of this program, we hope to combat these ineffective strategies and provide better outcomes for both offenders and victims."  


Before You Leave, Check This Out