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New Video About Restorative Justice at LPYS
LPYS is auditing its Diversion Program to provide a more meaningful experience to youth referred to LPYS from the juvenile court system. Staff are working to understand youth clients better by assessing their strengths and basic needs, then creating a more comprehensive plan to help them find success in their lives.
"We want to go beyond just being the alternative program that youth can choose when they face possible juvenile criminal charges and create more meaning for the youth by touching other areas of their lives," said Chris Braun, LPYS Diversion Program Manager.
For the Diversion Program, as it works now, the juvenile court assesses a particular crime and refers youth that fit certain criteria to the LPYS Diversion Program. Youth that choose this option can correct their wrongs and restart their lives with a clean record upon program completion. The LPYS Diversion Program includes working with youth through a restorative practices process that repairs harm to self, family, and when relevant to the school or the community.
Using SMART (specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-related) goals, youth develop and agree to specific projects that would repair harm. For example, youth could journal about their feelings to repair the harm done to themselves. Youth could find ways to create a better connection with their family such as going hiking, camping, or cooking a meal for them once a week to repair harm to their families. For a school or community project, youth could write a letter of apology or create a poster relevant to the crime they committed.
Typically staff works with youth to complete diversion within three to six months and then discharges them from the program. Instead, LPYS would like to implement long-term planning with youth in the diversion program to connect them to other programs or support services within LPYS beyond diversion.
"Our ultimate vision for youth across all our programs is to help them be more successful in their daily lives. This could mean building life skills, learning how to make better decisions, and gaining coping skills to deal with a range of emotions," said Braun.
LPYS is piloting pre- and post-client surveys to better assess clients in diversion as a first step to improving holistic care for them. Additional steps include better messaging to youth and families about other support options and educating partners about the services available.
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