Athens' District Attorney Office creates juvenile diversion program

The Western Circuit District Attorney’s Office announced recently that it is creating a Juvenile Restorative Justice Diversion Program.

The program was created in a partnership with the Georgia Conflict Center in Athens, according to its executive director Danny Malec.

The conflict center works with schools and criminal justice organizations. The nonprofit was created in 2010.

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Restorative justice is an "evidence-backed philosophy" that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with the victims and community in which the offender takes accountability for their actions, according to a news release from the DA’s office.

ACCPD chaplain Shane Sims speaks at the swearing-in ceremony of Deborah Gonzalez for District Attorney in Athens, GA., on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. " You see, were it not for the ideas and hopes that she represents, I would be somewhere languishing riding the wave in prison," Sims said, who was arrested for armed robbery as a teenager and sentenced to life plus 15 years in prison. After about ten years in prison, the warden noticed him, Òa warden who represented the same beliefs and hopes that Deborah Gonzalez brings to the office, the restorative approach to Criminal justice as opposed to the purely punitive approach. (Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald)
ACCPD chaplain Shane Sims speaks at the swearing-in ceremony of Deborah Gonzalez for District Attorney in Athens, GA., on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. " You see, were it not for the ideas and hopes that she represents, I would be somewhere languishing riding the wave in prison," Sims said, who was arrested for armed robbery as a teenager and sentenced to life plus 15 years in prison. After about ten years in prison, the warden noticed him, Òa warden who represented the same beliefs and hopes that Deborah Gonzalez brings to the office, the restorative approach to Criminal justice as opposed to the purely punitive approach. (Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald)

“This method has shown high satisfaction rates for offenders, victims, and the overall communities in which restorative justice is practiced,” according to the DA.

The District Attorney said the current responses to juvenile delinquency have proven ineffective.

Those eligible for the program are 16 and under and will be identified through the DA’s office. If the juvenile agrees to participate, he or she will be referred to the Georgia Conflict Center.

If the juvenile does not participate, the case will go through the traditional court system, according to the release.

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This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Juvenile delinquent diversion program established in Athens