Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 16.1. Courts Not of Record
Chapter 11. Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts
10/27/2021

§ 16.1-309.11. Youth justice diversion program.

A. For the purposes of this section, "youth justice diversion program" means a diversionary program that (i) is monitored by a local youth justice diversion program advisory committee; (ii) uses juvenile volunteers as lawyers, jurors, and other court personnel; (iii) uses volunteer attorneys as judges; (iv) conducts peer trials of juveniles who are referred to the program by the intake officer; and (v) imposes various sentences emphasizing restitution, rehabilitation, accountability, competency building, and education, but not incarceration.

B. Any jurisdiction may establish a youth justice diversion program upon establishment of a local youth justice diversion program advisory committee and approval of the youth justice diversion program by the chief judge of the juvenile and domestic relations district court that serves such jurisdiction. Each local youth justice diversion program advisory committee shall ensure quality, efficiency, and fairness in the planning, implementation, and operation of the youth justice diversion program that serves the jurisdiction. Advisory committee membership may include, but shall not be limited to, the following persons or their designees: (i) a judge from the juvenile and domestic relations district court that serves such jurisdiction; (ii) the attorney for the Commonwealth; (iii) the public defender or a member of the local criminal defense bar in jurisdictions in which there is no public defender; (iv) the clerk of the court in which the youth justice diversion program is located; (v) a representative of the Department of Juvenile Justice from the local office that serves the jurisdiction; (vi) a local law-enforcement officer; (vii) a representative of a local school in such jurisdiction; (viii) a representative of juvenile court services; (ix) a representative of a juvenile detention center or group home; (x) a representative of a local children and family services agency; and (xi) any other persons selected by the local youth justice diversion program advisory committee.

C. Each local youth justice diversion program advisory committee shall establish criteria for the eligibility and participation of juveniles alleged to have committed a delinquent act other than an act that would be a felony or a Class 1 misdemeanor if committed by an adult in the youth justice diversion program, with the consent of the juvenile's parent or legal guardian.

D. Each local youth justice diversion program advisory committee shall establish policies and procedures for the operation of the youth justice diversion program to attain the following goals: (i) early intervention in and prevention of delinquent behavior; (ii) providing positive alternative sanctions for offenders by providing a peer-driven sentencing mechanism that allows young people to take responsibility, to be held accountable, and to make restitution; (iii) advocating for fair, constructive, and restorative sentences predicated on sensitivity to the unique needs and the diversity of the participating juveniles; and (iv) developing positive citizenship attitudes, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting educational success through a diversity of service learning opportunities, strategies, and activities.

E. All records and reports concerning juvenile participants in a local youth justice diversion program made available to members of a local youth justice diversion program advisory committee and volunteers of a local youth justice diversion program and all records and reports identifying a juvenile participant that are generated by the committee or program from such reports shall be confidential and shall not be disclosed, except as authorized by other applicable law.

F. A juvenile referred to a youth justice diversion program may be required to contribute to the cost of the program pursuant to guidelines developed by the local youth justice diversion program advisory committee.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 457.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.