Changes coming to local juvenile diversion program

Changes coming to local juvenile diversion program

Changes are coming to a program aimed to help youth stay out of trouble

Beginning in July, the Red Willow County Attorney's Office will be handling a program that hopes to give juveniles a second chance following offenses like shop lifting and vandalism.

"In today's day and age, any kind of court record can derail any young person's plans in the future," said Red Willow County Attorney Paul Wood.

For over 10 years, Lutheran Family Services has been in charge of a diversion program which served six different area counties, but now the Red Willow County Attorney's Office says they're taking over.

"Really what happened was the grant application had to be re-done. The six counties were falling away so the decision was made to try and make pre-trial diversion as solely our own program without grants and without any other outside agencies to administer it, " Wood said.

He explained several of these counties are now going to be doing their own thing too.

"Chase County told me they were going to be dropping out and be modeling their program after Keith County. Keith County runs their own diversion program with no grants funded," Wood said.

Wood said this program a great way to help prevent future crime.

"It’s an opportunity for a youthful offender to perhaps be brought together with the victim, so that the youth can understand the perspective of the victim, restitution can be made and an educational component," Wood said.

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