Each year in the District of Columbia, over 3,000 juvenile arrests take place. A significant percentage of these arrests are for non-violent and low-level offenses. Access Youth’s Arrest Prevention Program targets this problem using victim-offender and family mediation to divert first-time youth offenders from the juvenile justice system.
In this program, Access Youth uses mediation to bring together the juvenile, their parent(s)/guardian(s) and, when applicable, the victim of the offense, to discuss what happened, and develop a plan for addressing harm caused and preventing further issues that could lead to arrest. After the mediation session, Access Youth conducts follow-up sessions with the juvenile and their parent to monitor and support their success in upholding the mediation agreement. If the juvenile successfully completed the program, they can avoid entering the juvenile justice system. Arrest Prevention channels youth away from prosecution and court involvement to help them understand the consequences of their actions, take responsibility for those actions and provide opportunities for them to rehabilitate and learn alternative behaviors.
The goals of the Arrest Prevention Program are to:
- Decrease the number of juvenile arrests
- Reduce recidivism rates
- Increase pro-social behaviors
We have had significant success at achieving these goals: more than 90% of juveniles complete our program successfully, and re-arrest rates of young people who complete our program range from 75%, which is comparable to the results of the best diversion programs around the country.