A juvenile who has been adjudicated (convicted) of a delinquency (crime) will sometimes be referred to the Juvenile Restorative Panel. The Family Court judge and Department for Children and Families (DCF) make this determination. The Panel is designed to assist the juvenile in taking responsibility for his or her actions, and to restore the victim and community. The program can also provide the juvenile with services that can help him/her find employment, continue education, begin drug counseling, or fill other needs.
The typical JRP contract might include restitution, letters of apology, community service hours, a report about what he or she could have done differently (to keep from getting into trouble), or maybe a reflection paper about who was hurt by the juvenile’s actions. The juvenile will not be released from JRP until the conditions of the contract have been completed. The client can legally remain in the program until s/he is 18, but most clients complete their contract within a year and a half. Once the juvenile has completed the conditions, the JRP Case Manager will notify the juvenile’s Social Worker (DCF) that s/he has finished the contract. The Social Worker may then request that the court release the juvenile from probation. If the juvenile fails to work on the contract, the JRP Case Manager will continue to work with the client and his/her family.
The case can be returned to DCF for possible court intervention, but this option does not often lead to positive results.