The following are programs and services specific to juveniles:
Juvenile Diversion Program
Pine County Probation implemented the Juvenile Diversion program in 1973. Diversion is a program available to first-time juvenile offenders charged with minor offenses as an informal alternative to appearing in court.
The Pine County Attorney’s Office screens juvenile matters to determine if they should be dealt with through diversion or formally charged and heard in court. Most first time, non-felony, non-traffic offenders are referred to the Diversion Program.
Rather than appear in Court the juvenile and his/her parents attend a meeting at the Probation Office with Pine County Probation's Contract Diversion Agent. The Contract Diversion Agent explains the Diversion Program, informs them of their rights, and ascertains if they voluntarily want to participate in the Diversion Program. If they wish to participate, the Contract Diversion Agent gathers some background information and sets up a Diversion Contract. If they do not wish to participate, the matter is referred back to the County Attorney's Office for formal prosecution.
The Diversion Contract requires the juvenile to complete conditions similar to probation requirements, for expample curfew, restitution, attendance at education classes, counseling, or performing community service work. The conditions of the contract between the juvenile, parents, and Diversion Contract Agent must be met within 90 days. Failure to complete the Diversion Contract will result in a referral back to the County Attorney’s office for formal prosecution.
Diversion can offer an excellent opportunity for the youth to learn from his or her mistake following swift action and without Court involvement or a juvenile court record. This is a one-time program. The Contract Diversion Agent is to make follow-up calls to youth and parents while they are in the program. This provides some additional support for the youth and parents, as well as, further assistance in seeking out additional resources when problems are identified. A second offense is referred directly to Court.
Restorative justice is a philosophical framework that has been proposed as an alternative to the current way of thinking about crime and criminal justice. Restorative justice emphasizes the ways in which crime harms relationships in the context of community.
Crime is viewed as a violation of the victim and the community, not a violation of the state. As a result, the offender becomes accountable to the victim and the community.
Restorative justice defines accountability for offenders in terms of taking responsibility for actions, and taking action to repair the harm caused to the victim and community. Restorative justice provides for active participation by the victim, the offender and the
community in the process of repairing the fabric of community peace.
The Pine County Restorative Justice Program serves juveniles in their home communities who are referred both through diversion and upon court order as a condition of probation. The juvenile meets with a community panel rather than the direct victim of the crime. The panel members, juvenile and family discuss the offense and together write a contract detailing how the juvenile will repair the harm caused by their offense and become positively involved in their home community. Contract components may include, but are not limited to, a letter responsibility to the victim(s), community service work, counseling, driver’s license suspension, curfew, drug testing and educational programming.
Restorative Justice Panels are held in Pine City, Hinckley, and Sandstone/Askov. If you are a community member and interested in becoming a restorative justice panelist, please contact Pine County Probation at 320-591-1550.
Cognitive Skills Program
Cognitive Skills Program is an educational program designed to educate about healthy thinking patterns and decision-making. The program goals include but are not limited to; providing education on power, aggression and anger, interpersonal skills, victim empathy, problem solving and responsible decision-making.
Cultural Community Coach
In October of 2017 the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Pine County collaborated to create a Cultural Community Coach position to work with Native American youth to help reduce the incidence of truancy and improve relationships between Band members and schools. The Cultural Community Coach provides a buffer between the court and connect youth to the larger community, supports youth and their families, and teach youth about their heritage and instill cultural values.