What does Diversion Mean?
“Diversion” refers to the process of managing juvenile cases through non-court processes, such as non-court adjustments, informal probation, referral to community panels such as youth court, or dismissals due to legal insufficiency. Diversion serves a number of important and valuable purposes. It helps low-risk juveniles who are unlikely to re-offend avoid the stigma and stress that can result from delinquency adjudication. Diversion provides opportunities for community partners and victims to take more active roles in the management of low-risk juvenile offenders. Diversion processes reduce burdens on the court system, which otherwise would find it impossible to adjudicate every offender referred to it. Diversion also is considerably less expensive and faster than the formal, adversarial process. Diversion processes reduce probation caseloads as well, enabling the division to better allocate resources and staff time to more serious offenders.
Juveniles are considered to have been diverted away from the formal court system if the intake decision for their delinquency referrals resulted in all offenses in all referrals received in the fiscal year being adjusted, dismissed, placed on informal probation, or forwarded to a community justice panel such as youth court. Referrals that were screened and referred elsewhere, such as back to law enforcement for further information, and those that were still in process at the time this data was collected, are excluded from this analysis. Diversion information was retrieved from the Juvenile Offender Management Information System on August 3, 2011. This data is continually refined and corrected and percentages in future reports may change slightly.
Go to the Individual Supervision Office pages for more information about the diversion programs they offer.
What is Probation Supervision?
Juvenile Probation field staff are assigned critical public safety responsibilities under Alaska's juvenile justice system. The juvenile probation officer (JPO) is the first point of contact for an offender following an arrest by police. Juvenile probation staff must be available – at least on-call – 24 hours a day, every day of the year, to assist local and state law enforcement agencies with decisions as to which juvenile offenders are detained in our youth facilities in order to protect the public.
Most adjudicated offenders are not in our institutions, but are in the community on conditions of probation. It is essential that probation officers provide sufficient supervision and offender accountability-based services to prevent further delinquency. Probation officers help offenders develop life skills, hold them to task to ensure they make reparation to their victims, and work with the Courts to enforce disposition judgments which benefit the community, victim, juvenile offender and the offender’s family. JPOs also work with youth facility staff and other agencies to provide intensive community supervision and aftercare services to juvenile offenders transitioning back into the community after being discharged from institutional treatment programs. Often called upon to make presentations in the public, the JPO is a community partner in serving Alaska’s youth.
Probation offices in rural Alaska have often taken the lead in partnering with Alaska’s substantial Alaska Native population in developing community-based solutions like circle sentencing and community courts that seek to serve kids in their own communities. Urban probation officers are working to establish school and community-based probation, truancy, and community partnerships to address delinquency at all ages and levels. These officers are provided support in their efforts from regional and state offices.
There are probation offices throughout Alaska. Offices are, or will be, located within youth facilities where feasible. In smaller communities, offices may even be shared with other state agencies when available. Rural probation officers provide itinerant services to the vast number of communities off of the road network.
Probation services are directed through four separate regions that differ widely in demographic and geographic makeup.
- Anchorage Region covers the Anchorage metropolitan area.
- Northern Region includes Fairbanks and much of rural Alaska – from Bethel to Barrow.
- South Central Region covers the southern portion of the state from the Aleutians in the west through Prince William Sound in the east.
- Southeast Region covers the entire Southeast panhandle from Yakutat to Metlakatla.
Visit the Regional Office pages linked at left for more information.