Juvenile Court Alternatives

Juvenile Pre-Trial Intervention

Juvenile Pre-Trial Intervention is a diversionary program for some first-time, non-violent offenders who are under the age of 17. Defendants are referred to the program by a Family Court prosecutor and must undergo an evaluation to determine whether the juvenile is eligible and what the requirements for successful completion will be.

The following are common requirements of the program:

  • community service
  • writing essays
  • drug counseling/testing
  • paying restitution to victims
  • touring a prison or county jail
  • educational classes

The total cost of the program is $200, which includes a $100 assessment fee paid at the time of intake with a money order or cashier’s check. You may pay by credit card at our office in the Beaufort Courthouse.

 

Participants who are rejected from the program or who fail to satisfy all requirements of the program will be returned to Family Court for prosecution.

 

For more information, contact our PTI staff at 843-779-8477.

Juvenile Multi-Disciplinary Court

While it is clearly important to aggressively prosecute criminals, it is just as important that we do everything we can to help keep people from turning to a life of crime in the first place. Nowhere is that need as profound as it is for our children.
 
Thanks to a three-year federal grant, we were able to implement a new court for juvenile offenders who have just begun to veer off the right track. The Juvenile Multi-Disciplinary Court addresses the underlying causes of a juvenile’s delinquency by installing structure and accountability to the child’s life. We accomplish this by using a variety of counseling and treatment techniques that are individualized to each juvenile’s unique circumstances.
 
The program takes approximately one year to complete and includes weekly appearances in front of a judge to monitor each family’s progress.
 
As of December 2013, graduates of the Juvenile Multi-Disciplinary had a 15 percent recidivism rate.

For more information

Contact Michael Lee at 843-255-5908

A success story

James, a 15-year-old, was having a difficult family life when he began smoking marijuana and hanging out with the wrong crowd. The high school student’s father had recently been diagnosed with cancer, his mom had lost her job and their house was teetering on the brink of foreclosure.

His group of friends was involved with a burglary, and James was arrested for receiving stolen goods. He was sentenced into the Beaufort County Juvenile Multi-Disciplinary Court.

In the program, he went through a variety of counseling programs, including one-on-one, group and family sessions. He also completed community service. James’ grades began improving, so much that he is now enrolled in International Baccalaureate courses and is on a college track. Instead of getting high, he found a sport that he loves and he regularly participates in a service club. John now works part-time at a restaurant. The school resource officer and his teachers report a dramatic turnaround.

At his graduation from the court, James told the other participants that his life had been falling apart and he responded in a way that hurt himself and his family. He was trying to be someone that he was not. He now likes the person he had been trying to escape.

This level of introspection indicates a great deal of maturity for someone who previously was heading down the wrong path and is an example of what a comprehensive approach to dealing with juvenile delinquency can produce.

Juvenile Arbitration

In 1998, the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office began a Juvenile Arbitration Program that now is available in all five counties. Juvenile arbitration is a juvenile diversion program designed to divert first time, non-violent/non-status offenders out of the Family Court system and into an informal arbitration setting that is operated by trained community volunteers.

The trained volunteers hold a hearing with the offender and his/her family as well as the victim and arresting police officer. At the hearing, the volunteer works to establish the facts of the case and to develop an appropriate punishment that is acceptable and in the best interest of all parties, including the community as a whole. Potential sanctions can include paying restitution, writing letters of apology, performing community service and other requirements the arbitrator deems appropriate.

If the juvenile is successful, the charges are dropped. If they are unsuccessful, the case will be forwarded to Family Court for prosecution.

We are thankful for approximately two dozen volunteers who make this program the success it is. Currently, fewer than 10 percent of the program’s participants re-offend.

 

For more information

For more information about this program or to volunteer, please contact Leonard Risher at 843-779-8689.