The County Attorney's Community Justice Boards
Our Community Justice Boards are for juveniles who are in trouble with the law for the first time. Our goal is to reach these youngsters before it is too late. Early intervention with juvenile first offenders can prevent them from committing further crimes.
The County Attorney’s Office works in cooperation with Juvenile Court and with the help of many community agencies, businesses and churches.
Our program, coordinated through the office of Jon Smith, Yuma County Attorney, is modeled after the Community Justice Boards in Pima County (Tucson) and we are grateful for the assistance we have received from the staff of Barbara Lawall, Pima County Attorney.
Restorative Justice for Youth, Victims and the Community:
Our goal is Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ):
“As a model of community justice, BARJ seeks to involve and meet the needs of three co-participants in the justice process – victims, offenders and communities.” *
We will help children who break the law to become productive, law abiding members of our community. At the same time, we will give crime victims a voice and community members a chance to make a difference.
This program depends upon community volunteers who meet together, face-to face, in the same room with the juvenile, the victim and the parent(s)/guardian of the juvenile. The child has previously admitted the crime and agreed to enter the program.
The Board allows the child and the parent to speak and asks them questions about their individual circumstances. The victim is encouraged to address the offender directly, to explain how the crime affected them.
The Board holds the juvenile accountable in a positive way --- to help the victim, the child, and the family, as well as the community. The Board assigns Consequences to be completed by the child. These Consequences make amends to the victim, help the child think about his/her behavior and start the child on the path to building skills to cope with life’s choices and problems.
Each Board handles one (1) or two (2) cases at a time. Each case takes ninety (90) days to complete. During this time, the Board meets at least once a month on each case to review the progress of the juvenile. If a juvenile refuses to complete the consequences satisfactorily, the Board terminates him/her from the program and refers the case back into the juvenile justice system for possible prosecution.
What are some types of offenses that may be referred to the Community Justice Board?
Theft, criminal damage, simple assaults, disorderly conduct, truancy, and runaway.
* (Quotation from The Balanced and Restorative Justice Project, a national initiative of the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and Florida Atlantic University, Ft. Lauderdale, Forida)
We are seeking volunteers who would like to serve on or sponsor a Community Justice Board. If you are interested in either the Community Justice or the Neighborhood Alliance Program, please contact Mary White or Cynthia Ramos at (928) 817-4300. You may also contact Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org