The Morrow County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, offers a diversion program for first-time, non-violent juvenile offenders.
The diversion program allows juveniles who are unruly or who have committed a criminal offense the opportunity to correct their mistake and avoid having a record so long as they comply with terms of a specially designed program including appropriate referrals to community resources.
This program is designed to create, develop and use team partnerships including the Court system, parents, Substance Abuse Treatment providers, Mental Health Treatment providers, local school districts, and the juvenile offender.
Juveniles in the Diversion Program, who comply with the conditions and complete the program and complete it successfully, will have his or her juvenile case dismissed and his or her record will remain unblemished.
What is Diversion?
Diversion simply means "to change course, or to turn aside from". Juveniles in the diversion program will be diverted from the court system which allows the court to dedicate time to more serious cases while providing first-time, non-violent offenders a chance to change his or her behavior and have his or her record expunged.
How do participants enter the diversion program?
Juveniles entering the program must have a complaint filed with the juvenile court for a non-violent criminal offense as an alleged delinquent or be alleged to be unruly and must be a first-time offender. Examples of offenses include: truancy; disobedience at school or at home; unruly behavior; and various nonviolent misdemeanors. Criminal allegations such as underage consumption and theft will be considered for diversion.
A Diversion Officer will screen new cases involving potential participants and will contact the juvenile and his/her parent(s) or guardian(s) to set up an interview with all necessary parties. At the interview, further details of the program will be explained. The parties then decide whether their child will participate in the program, which is purely voluntary.
What is expected of juveniles in the program?
Juvenile diversion participants must first admit to the charge(s) against him or her. Once an admission is made, the case goes no further in formal court, unless the juvenile fails to complete the program. Juveniles who do not admit to the charges will not be considered for the program.
The Diversion Officer shall first review the case with the juvenile and their parent(s) or guardian(s). At this time a "Diversion Contract" is drafted which will outline specific rules and conditions which must be completed by the juvenile in order to remain in compliance with the diversion program. Examples of these rules include, but are not limited to: setting a curfew; following parental rules; completing community service, attending school with passing grades; and following school rules. Participants will be monitored by the diversion officer to ensure that they are in compliance with the terms and conditions of their diversion contract.
Upon successful completion of the diversion contract, the case is dismissed at the costs of the juvenile, and the juvenile has no formal juvenile record.
Can participants "fail" the diversion program?
Yes. By not following the rules and conditions in the diversion contract, participants fail the diversion program and are withdrawn. The original charges against them then will be further pursued in court.
What if a participant needs help in several areas?
The diversion officer evaluates all the needs of diversion program participants and can make referrals to community agencies as needed.
"A bend in the road is not the end of the road...
unless you fail to make the turn."
For more information contact:
Dustin Stark, Diversion Probation Officer
(419) 947-5545 ext. 2279
Morrow County Courthouse
48 East High Street
Mt. Gilead, Ohio 43338