Juvenile Diversion Programs
Download a brochure about these programs
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office assumed responsibility for two important juvenile crime prevention programs in January of 2001. Sheriff Ramsay believes in juvenile intervention programs because he feels we must become involved immediately with youthful offenders to help prevent further delinquent behavior and to prevent youthful offenders from becoming adult offenders.
The intervention programs are Intensive Delinquency Diversion Service or IDDS and our Civil Citation / Teen Court program. The programs are financed through contracts with the Department of Juvenile Justice overseen by three highly trained caseworkers. Teen Court also derives funding through a surcharge on court cases.
Intensive Delinquency Diversion Service (IDDS)
At the discretion of the State Attorney and after consultation with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the State Attorney’s Office may allow a youth and his/her family to participate in the Intensive Delinquency Diversion Program, thereby diverting the case out of the juvenile court system.
Upon receiving the case, the assigned IDDS case manager will contact the youth and parent or guardian, to conduct a face-to-face meeting. All parties will review and sign the participation agreement. If the parent and youth fail to agree to participate the case shall be return to the Clerk of the Court and State Attorney for possible prosecution in Juvenile Court.
Once the participation agreement has been signed, the case manager will conduct a needs assessment and, in conjunction with the youth and family, establish a plan to address the needs of the youth in an effort to avoid the youth reoffending in the future. The plan may include, but is not limited to, community work service assignments, drug testing, letters of apology, mental health therapy, vocational and academic counseling, anger management and, in some instances, restitution. The youth and parent will meet regularly with the case manager to review youth’s compliance and to assess plan goals and progress.
The IDDS program lasts an average of five to six months. If the youth successfully completes all requirements of the IDDS program, the case manager notifies the State Attorney. The State Attorney, in turn, agrees to “Nolle Prosequi” or take no action in the case against the youth. If the youth violates the agreed upon terms of the IDDS Program at any time, the case manager will notify the State Attorney’s Office, DJJ and the Clerk of the Court for violation of the case and placement on the next Juvenile Court docket and possible prosecution by the State Attorney.
Civil Citation Program
Law Enforcement and Civil Citations
Children under the age of 18 who committ a misdemeanor offense may be referred by any law enforcement officer to this program through the issuance of a Civil Citation. When law enforcement encounters a juvenile, and there is reasonable belief the law has been violated, the juvenile shall be temporarily detained. A Civil Citation is issued and an explanation of the procedures the juvenile must follow shall be given to him/her. They include:
Note: A Citation may be issued for an offense not witnessed by law enforcement, but subject to arrest (and example would be shoplifting).
A Citation issued for possession of illicit drugs or alcohol will require contact with the parent or legal guardian before the juvenile can be released. It shall be the on-scene law enforcement officer who will make the initial assessment to issue a Civil Citation for a battery case.
The child, parent, or legal guardian has the option to accept or reject the Citation. Refusal of the Citation removes the juvenile from the Civil Citation process and the case proceeds through the court as a violation of the law.
Who is eligible?
A juvenile who commits a criminal misdemeanor offense, or violates a criminal municipal ordinance is eligible for participation in the Civil Citation program. The program allows juvenile to be diverted out of the court system and to avoid having a record with the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). A youth is ineligible for a citation if he has had three previous citations or a previous arrest.
How Does it Work?
After a youth receives a Civil Citation for a misdemeanor offense from law enforcement, the assigned case manager for the Civil Citation program will contact the youth and parent or guardian to set up an intake interview. At the intake interview the rules and regulations of the Civil Citation program are reviewed with the parent or guardian and youth. The youth and parent or guardian must agree to participate in, and abide by, the rules of the Civil Citation program.
After conducting an assessment, the case manager will assign sanctions for the youth and parent to participate in and complete. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, performing community service hours, writing letters of apology, abiding by a curfew, attending school with no disciplinary referrals, writing an essay or report, completing “Consequences of Crime Workbooks”, and submitting to random urinalysis.
In some cases, as result of the assessment conducted by the case manager, a referral may be made for a further substance abuse and mental health evaluation. The youth and parent or guardian must agree to follow any recommendations that result from the additional evaluation.
As part of the Civil Citation program, some misdemeanor offenses may be appropriate for handling through Teen Court. Teen Court is based on the premise that youthful offenders will more readily accept responsibility for their actions when judged by their peers. Should the assigned case manager feel the youth in question would benefit from participation in Teen Court, a Teen Court date will be assigned to the youth. In those instances the Teen Court jury, after hearing the case in front of the Teen Court judge, will determine the appropriate sanctions. The sanctions to be completed by the youth are designed to be constructive and rehabilitative.
Teen Court affords an important learning experience for all participants on the workings of our legal system. Juveniles who undergo judgment by their peers will have the opportunity to later be assigned to sit on a Teen Court jury as part of their required sanctions.
The youth will a have period of 60 days to complete the assigned sanctions. During that time the youth and parent will be provided with the appropriate case management services to meet their needs and to focus on the issues that led to the criminal behavior. One goal of the program is to provide insight into the cause of the behavior, and to provide tools to modify future behavior, in an effort to avoid future offenses.
Upon completion of the Civil Citation program the youth will be awarded a certificate of completion and the case is dropped with no further requirements.
If the youth fails to complete the sanctions, or commits a new violation of the law while participating in the Civil Citation program, the case will be referred back to the court, the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Office of the State Attorney for a decision on prosecution in Juvenile Court.
Teen Volunteer Requirements
Teen Court Volunteers must:
Teen Courts allow youth the opportunity to act as defending and prosecuting attorneys, clerks, bailiffs and jurors who decide the sentence for an offender who has admitted guilt for breaking the law. Teen Court assigns responsibility to student volunteers and relies on their participation and judgment in handling referrals from law enforcement officers, school administrators and from the Department of Juvenile Justice.
Juvenile Diversion Offices:
5503 College Road, Suite 208
Key West, FL 33040
50 Highpoint Road
Plantation Key, FL 33040