What is Juvenile Arbitration?
Juvenile Arbitration is a diversion program designed to divert first time, nonviolent juvenile offenders out of the Family court system and into an informal Arbitration hearing setting that is operated by qualified volunteer arbitrators.
Purpose of Juvenile Arbitration?
The purpose of the juvenile arbitration program is to divert selected first time offenders from juvenile justice family court cases, allow the court to concentrate its efforts on the most serious juvenile offenders, provide an individualized plan of consequences, education and treatment for the accused youth that will monitor and prevent the youth from further involvement in the criminal justice system.
How it Works?
When a juvenile is charged with a crime, the case is reviewed by the Department of Juvenile Justice and referred to the Solicitor’s office. If the case is appropriate for Arbitration and approved by the Juvenile Arbitration Coordinator the case will be diverted for completion of the program requirements. The Arbitration Coordinator will then establish a hearing date and notify the following parties:
*Juvenile and parent/guardian
The program is voluntary and the juvenile and may decline to participate at any time, however these cases will be returned to the Solicitor for formal court proceedings. Those that accept Arbitration will proceed through the hearing process. At the hearing, the Arbitrator determines the facts and appropriate consequences with input from juvenile, victim and arresting officer. The Arbitrator can require sanctions that may include, but not limited to:
*Paying Monetary Restitution
*Performing Community Service
*Attending Project Right Turn (DJJ prison tour and Insider discussion)
*Juvenile Drug Court
*Treatment for substance abuse, anger or other behavioral issues
*Education based treatment groups to improve decision making skills
*Letter of apology to victim(s)
*Write topical essays
The Juvenile Arbitration Coordinator and/or Arbitrator monitors the progress of the juvenile completing the requirements. When all requirements are satisfied the case will be dismissed and the juvenile’s record is cleared.
Successful completion of the Arbitration Program enables the youth to make amends for his or her actions and avoid prosecution in court. If the youth does not successfully complete the program, he or she will be referred for prosecution in the Family Court system.
The Arbitration program is centered around the citizen volunteers who act as the Arbitrators who conduct the hearings. The Arbitration Coordinator and Hearing Arbitrator monitor’s the juvenile’s progress for a minimum of 90 days. To develop qualified Arbitrator’s, a 24 hour training course is conducted by the Solicitor’s Office.
To become eligible to become a volunteer Arbitrator, you must have the following:
·Must be 21 years of age
·Must have a high school diploma
·No Criminal Record
·Must complete 24 hours of Arbitrator Training
If interested in becoming a volunteer in the Sixth Circuit, please send your name, address, and phone number to:
Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office
Juvenile Arbitration Program
P.O. Box 607
Lancaster, SC 29721
Attn: Amy Moss
Amy Moss, Juvenile Arbitration Coordinator
Lancaster, Chester and Fairfield
P.O. Box 607
104 N. Main St.
Lancaster, SC 29721