A Second Chance for First-Time Youth Offenders
Due to illicit drug use, underage drinking, and other juvenile offenses, some youth will end up in the juvenile justice system. First-time youth offenders who commit non-violent offenses are eligible for court diversion through CADY’s Restorative Justice Program. Accredited by the State of New Hampshire’s Juvenile Court Diversion Network, we offer the sole diversion program in the Pemi-Baker, Lin-Wood, and Newfound Regions and achieve stellar outcomes every year evidenced through independent evaluation by the Community Health Institute. This community-based intervention helps high-risk youth develop real life skills and has been proven to prevent future risky behaviors, breaks the cycle of juvenile crime, and reclaims the futures of our most vulnerable youth. Since 2007, 240 youth have been given a second chance to take responsibility for their actions, make restitution to victims of juvenile crime, reconnect with their community, and turn their lives around. We are proud of our 85% success rate in promoting growth and lasting behavior change.
Two characteristics found almost uniformly among delinquent youth are lack of attachment to caring adults and lack of involvement in positive activities. CADY’s Restorative Justice program strives to change that by:
- offering strength-based community-service and pro-social opportunities tied to youths’ strengths and aspirations;
- identifying the need for social services and connecting youth and their families with needed services, many times for the first time;
- providing targeted education ranging from prevention of substance misuse and shoplifting to choice theory and anger management, and providing referral to other extended training;
- working closely with school administrators to provide that critical link between home, school, and the community that is supported so strongly by NH Administrative Judge Edwin W. Kelly.
Restorative Justice has been identified in our strategic plan as a critical community need given that it is grassroots in design and practice, prevents entry into the juvenile court system; prevents the escalation of juvenile crime into higher-level crime, restores victims, and saves significant taxpayer dollars.