Year started: 1994
Neutrals: Volunteers from the community
Eligibility: Juvenile misdemeanor cases
Free Mediation Services Available?: No
This program is not a part of the court system, but it is included in the Court ADR Across Illinois because it is part of the broader justice system.
The Champaign County Regional Planning Commission's Court Diversion Services Program is a social service operating as a partner in the ACCESS Initiative System of Care. The program started as a non-profit community-based Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) and now provides victim-offender and circle mediation, peer court, and other services. The current program receives most of its funding from a county juvenile justice tax grant, with the remainder coming from a federal block grant allocated for community action programs in the county.
All police jurisdictions in Champaign County refer youth who are put on station adjustments for non-violent juvenile misdemeanor cases to the program. In order to connect respondents with the appropriate service, program case managers consider the type of offense and recommendations from the police, and screen each case using the Youth Assessment and Screening Instrument (YASI) Pre-Screening Assessment, which assesses the following areas:
- Legal History
- Family & Community
- Alcohol & Drug Use
- Mental Health & Aggression
- Attitude & Skills
Mediation is used in cases involving an identified victim who is willing to participate. The victim, respondent, the respondent's legal guardian and the case manager are required to attend the mediation. Cases are mediated by volunteers who have completed at least eight hours of training and observed at least three mediations. With the mediator, the parties discuss the offense, its effects and ways in which the offender can take responsibility for the offense and the harm can be repaired. When agreements are made, they are put in writing and signed by all parties. Cases that do not reach agreement are referred back to the referring agency.
When there is no clear victim or if the victim is not willing to participate in mediation, the respondent will be scheduled to appear in Peer Court. Respondents, their legal guardians and their case managers attend the proceedings. Respondents have a chance to make a statement to a peer jury, and the jurors will ask questions regarding the offense, how the harm can be repaired and the strengths and needs of the respondent. Jurors are high school youth who have had four to six hours of training and have observed at least three peer court proceedings. Jurors review the details of the offense and make recommendations for a written agreement. Respondents have the option to reject the recommendations; in these instances, the jurors work with the respondent to develop recommendations he/she can accept or, if that is not possible, refer the case back to the referring agency.
Following mediation and peer court proceedings, case managers set up community service and competency development assigned in any agreements that are made. They follow-up with respondents every two weeks to provide any support the respondent may need to complete their agreement. If the agreement is not completed by the end of the station adjustment, the case will be returned to the referring agency and the respondent may enter into the traditional juvenile justice system.
The Court Diversion Services Program also provides two other services for respondents. Youth referred whose screening results show that family issues may have influenced the offense are referred to Parenting with Love and Limits, a 6-week program that integrates group and family therapy to instill positive family interaction skills. When the YASI indicates a lack of positive community integration, youth are referred to No Limits for Teens, an 8-week, goal-oriented mentoring program. Mentors are Bachelor of Social Work students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that are trained in the No Limits curriculum.
Illinois 6th Judicial Circuit. Nov. 6, 2014
Resource Type: Rules - Court
Abstract: The local rules for Illinois' 6th Judicial Circuit serving Champaign, DeWitt, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt Counties.
Please note these local rules do not outline rules for the Circuit's various mediation programs. Instead, the rules for the va...
Champaign County Regional Planning Commission
1776 E Washington St.
Urbana, IL 61802
phone: (217) 328-3313
fax: (217) 328-2426