What We Do:
- Ensure Victim Involvement – Our programming offers victims an important voice and a chance to express their true impacts. All victims of juvenile crime are presented with an opportunity to be part of the justice process through direct participation in the Victim Offender Conference or to have their impacts reflected in other alternative accountability processes.
- Empowerment and Respect – CRYJ provides an individualized approach to youth and families – focusing on accountability, goal setting, positive development and empowerment. This approach helps to support youth as they gain the ability, and recognize their own authority, to make decisions and implement changes in their lives and the lives of others.
- Create Opportunities for Community Connection – Our programs emphasize community service as an opportunity to give back – striving to increase community safety and connection. We work with more than 30 community partners, agencies, and nonprofits around the valley to provide meaningful community service opportunities for youth.
- Parent and Family Engagement – All CRYJ programs aim to actively engage parents and families in reflection and discussion surrounding a youth’s offense or behavior. Our accountability programs encourage parents to play a role in the framing of accountability processes and to discuss impacts as a way of helping that youth move forward in rebuilding trust within their families and the community.
Who We Work With
The large majority of youth who come through CRYJ’s restorative programming are referred through juvenile probation. Youth participants include Flathead County youth from a wide range of backgrounds, and with a wide range of offense. CRYJ works largely with first time offenders – providing important accountability and reflection opportunities that result in reduced delinquency.
CRYJ’s restorative programming also creates opportunities for repeat offenders, or more serious offenders, to participate in conversations with community volunteers, victims, and staff to understand the true impacts of their decisions and to create meaningful ways for youth to repair harm and move forward.
Some Agency Successes:
- The Victim Impact Program is the only program in the state that directly involves victims of juvenile crime
- CRYJ works with approximately 260 youth a year who are either currently involved, or are being actively diverted, from the traditional juvenile justice system
- 85% of youth referred to CRYJ complete all program requirements
- First time offenders who complete CRYJ’s restorative programming requirements have the option to have their charges dismissed from their record
- CRYJ youth participants dedicate approximately 2,500 hours of community service every year to the Flathead community though participation in CRYJ’s Youth Connections Program
CRYJ’s Program Intro
Victim Impact Program (VIP) – Created to extend timely, victim- sensitive contact to ALL victims impacted by juvenile crime in Flathead County in an effort to reduce the consequences of the victimization. Through the VIP, victims are provided with a clearly designated person to whom they know they can turn to for support, guidance, information, assistance, and an opportunity to be heard. Rather than navigating the system alone, trained personnel, knowledgeable about victim’s rights and resources, provide assistance to help identify and connect victims with needed services. People victimized by crime not only want to receive information, they want to be able to provide information. The VIP Coordinator initiates contact with victims to provide an opportunity for them to tell their story, how they have been impacted, and what they would like to see happen to hold the offender accountable for the harm done.
Youth Connections (Restorative Community Service) – All CRYJ participants complete community service and other restorative obligations through CRYJ’s Youth Connections program. This program is designed to provide enriching opportunities for community service that combine critical thinking, civic responsibility, and competency development. In this way, youth envision and establish themselves as necessary and valued community members. Accountability & competency development are key objectives in achieving the restorative goal of increased community safety. Staff members work one-on-one with youth participants to develop an individualized community service action plan that will fulfill the requirements of their restorative agreements. The Youth Connections Program engages a wide range of community partners through innovative service projects and youth workshops.
Community Accountability Board (CAB) – In the CAB process, the board (a panel of three community members – adult and youth) acts in a representative capacity for victims who are unwilling or unable to participate in the VOC process for which the youth has been referred. The board is composed of a small group of trained citizens (both adult and youth), who conduct face-to-face meetings with offenders referred by Youth Court Services (Juvenile Probation). During CAB meetings, members discuss with the offender the nature of the offense and its negative consequences. Board members then develop a set of proposed consequences which they discuss with the offender, who has also suggested ways to make amends. The youth’s obligation to take responsibility for the harms caused by their actions is discussed and together they outline meaningful, achievable ways to do so in a Restorative Agreement. Subsequently, the offender must document his or her progress in fulfilling the terms of the agreement, which are reported back to the referring officials upon completion.
Drug and Alcohol Accountability Panel (DAAP) – A program designed specifically for drug and alcohol related offenses. Each DAAP session involves a conversation between a youth Panel and a youth offender, emphasizing self-awareness and personal responsibility. All DAAP panel members are youth volunteers with past experiences that give them valuable perspective on substance use and its impact in their lives. It is not a treatment program, nor does it stem from a single philosophy of substance abuse. Through the DAAP process youth have the opportunity to take accountability for their offense, the harms caused by their actions and the impacts on themselves and others.
Theft Impact Circle (TIC) – A program designed specifically for first-time misdemeanor theft charges. TIC aims to teach youth that stealing is a serious problem with long reaching affects for many people, including youth, families, and community. This program provides meaningful and achievable opportunities for youth to address harms caused by their offense and move forward in their lives in a positive way. The program is offered twice a month for 3-6 youth and is comprised of a two hour interactive group meeting with youth and parents, followed by a 3 hour mentored service learning activity for youth. CRYJ staff provides facilitation of the group and a store merchant/loss prevention officer provides insight from the victim perspective.
Victim Offender Conferencing (VOC) –VOC is a restorative process in which victims and juvenile offenders sit down together, in a safe environment with a trained impartial facilitator, to discuss the impact and circumstances of a crime, as well as options for addressing the harm that was done. Youth Court views VOC as a way to directly hold youth accountable in a forum that actively involves victims in the juvenile justice process, and in some cases resolves restitution disputes and restores victim losses in innovative ways that benefit all stakeholders, including community. Involved victims are given an opportunity to tell their story of what happened, ask questions, and obtain meaningful restoration and restitution. In addition, it gives youthful offenders an opportunity to take direct responsibility for harm they have done and an attainable means to give remedy and closure. For the community, VOC addresses the welfare of all of its citizens by creating conditions that promote healthy relationships that deter crime and promote a sense of community ownership within youth.
Interested in volunteering? Contact us to learn more!