In conjunction with the Fourth District Juvenile Court and the juvenile probation officers, we currently use three programs to assist juveniles:
The juvenile court runs a truancy court. It is similar to drug court, mental health court, or a domestic violence court. The students who are truant are identified by the school districts. When cases related to truancy can not be resolved, we get involved with the case. We work with truancy officers, probation officers, school resource officers, defense attorneys and the courts in attempting to resolve matters. The ultimate goal is getting the children to school on time, every day. Family needs can be assessed, services can be accessed, and special needs of the children can be identified and addressed.
This program identifies mid level drug offenders. We work closely with probation in screening juveniles to determine eligibility. There are drug courts in two of the four juvenile courts. The minors participate in an intensive drug and alcohol treatment program. We work closely with the Utah County Department of Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Prevention in helping families access funds to help pay for drug treatment. The juveniles have court hearings every other week and are drug tested, and checked on at school and their treatment is monitored very closely by all of the parties involved. The average length of stay in drug court is 12 months. Minors who need more intensive treatment can access residential treatment through drug court. Juveniles who graduate from this program have a lower rate of recidivism, and have a much lower rate of relapse as adults.
Approximately 85% of minors referred to juvenile court will never be referred again. Since most juveniles do not reoffend, the juvenile courts have a program whereby certain offenses may be closed non-judicially. These cases are processed through the juvenile court probation department with the input of the County Attorney's Office.
The majority of these offenses are low level offenses (curfew, truancy, disorderly conduct). The minor must admit guilt, go to an educational class, and either pay a fine or do community service work. The minor does not see a judge and the case does not show as a conviction, only an out of court closure. This enables our office to focus on more serious offenses that deal with minors who present a more serious threat to community safety.