Mediation is considered for all first-time status offenses and for first-time misdemeanors where the victim is willing to participate. The Court also uses mediation to settle portions of cases and to settle some restitution issues.
Mediation gives the complainant/victim and the offender each an opportunity to meet, talk about the offense, express concerns, and negotiate a mutually amiable agreement. It improves the capacity of the juvenile justice system to aid victims who have been negatively affected by the behavior of the young offender. It also provides an opportunity or youth to understand and acknowledge how their actions have adversely affected the community, school environment, consumer market, etc.
The mediation conference is informal, confidential, and non-adversarial. The goal is to have both the complainant/victim and the offender reach a resolution that addresses all of their concerns. Mediations are conducted by mediators who have completed a rigorous schedule of training, observations, and certification. They are professionals within the community.
In each of case specially trained mediators are provided to assist the parties in reaching an agreement regarding the best way to deal with the problem that has brought the child before the Court. The parties may craft an agreement that defines the problems and the solutions to correct them so that the child and the complainant can both be satisfied.
Access to the program is through the judge or intake worker.