Juvenile Review Board
Juvenile Review Board (JRB) programs have been used widely and successfully for more than a decade across the state to keep youth with misdemeanor offenses from entering the juvenile justice system
What is a JRB?
JRBs is a community-based diversion process offered to youth who have committed minor delinquent acts or youth who are displaying at-risk behaviors at home or school that could result in an arrest or a referral to the juvenile court.
What is the goal?
The goal of the JRB is to keep youth out of the juvenile justice system and provide support and services for youth (and families) in order to help build necessary skills for ongoing success. JRBs address the underlying cause of a youth’s behavior and help him or her avoid future involvement with the juvenile justice system.
How many cases does WYS handle per year?
In a typical year, our JRB deals with 150-200 cases.
What is the success rate?
Last year, 96% of the youth who went through our program were not re-arrested.
How does it operate?
Waterbury Youth Services Inc.’s JRB consists of a Program Manager, two Case Managers and is largely supported by volunteers. The JRB can order youth to undertake counseling, conflict resolution classes, therapy, substance abuse services, mentoring, tutoring assistance, or a variety of other programs. The Board can also require students to write essays or letters of apology, or perform community service.
Why are volunteers critical?
The make-up of a JRB should represent the community in which it serves in regards to race, ethnicity, and culture. The goal of membership is to create a cohesive group of knowledgeable and passionate professionals and community members who can work together to address the needs of the youth, families and the community.
A JRB should consist of members of the community who have some experience in matters of child development, adolescent behavior, family dynamics, youth development, and/or juvenile laws and procedures. Members should be committed to providing dedicated and consistent service to the JRB, while effectively contributing to the process in a respectful and appropriate manner.
Who is eligible to volunteer?
You must be 21 years of age or older, hold a valid US Driver's License and have no criminal record.
What are the training requirements to volunteer?
Initial training approx. 2 hours. Annual trainings as necessary
What is the time commitment to volunteer?
2 hours per month, typically after school hours on Wednesday or Thursday
What type of background is helpful to have for volunteering?
It's helpful to possess a knowledge of child development and family dynamics and understand the principles and concepts of working with families, and applicable law and legal principles. Basic knowledge of and willingness to participate in Restorative Practices.
Helpful backgrounds include but are not limited to: School Administrators, Guidance Counselors and/or Social Workers, Law Enforcement Officers, Juvenile Court personnel, Department of Children and Families personnel, Mental Health Providers or other agencies serving youth, Members of the faith community, and Local business persons.
How are cases referred?
Cases are referring to Waterbury Youth Services by City Police, Schools, Court, DCF, as well as other sources. Youth must remain in WYS’ JRB program for six months.
What types of cases does the JRB review?
The Waterbury Juvenile Review Board accepts 1st and 2nd time offenders. Offenses may include misdemeanors, school rules violations, non-violent felonies, and FWSN- truancy referrals. The youth must not have current court involvement, however previous involvement (JRB, arrests, probation) that has been resolved may be accepted.
Who pays for the supportive services recommended by the JRB?
If WYS’s JRB recommends a service, WYS typically funds the expense.
What are the types of Programs WYS refers to?
There are a wide range of services our JRB may recommend, including: counseling, conflict resolution classes, therapy, substance abuse services, individual and group mentoring, tutoring assistance, pro-social activities, employment related classes, and others.
Who are our community partners?
We have a strong relationship with many community providers that we access based on the family’s needs. Some programs that are utilized most often include: Wellmore, Family and Children’s Aid, YMCA, BAGS, Hoops for Life, Outside Perspectives, Waterbury Knights Football/Cheer/Dance, and Travel Center (bus passes). Some other organizations that we use include: Perspective Center for Care, Tides of Mind, Dynamites Gymnastics, Lights/Camera/Dance, Seven Angels Theater, Bionic Body, EMB Academy, Mattatuck Museum, Hispanic Coalition, Police Explorers, and Girls Inc.
The value of JRBs can not be overstated....
“The JRB program at WYS offers a great service to these children, offering them an opportunity to reflect on their past behavior; identify what their individualized needs are and work with the staff and volunteers, through the JRB, to move forward in a productive manner,” says Diane E. Haggis, Ed. D, who has volunteered for three and a half years on Waterbury Youth Services Inc.’s JRB. “As a long-standing member on two separate JRB teams within Waterbury Youth Services, I am honored to be a part of the comprehensive service that is provided to our youth.”
Describe what you think is the biggest strength of the JRB?
"The biggest strength at JRB is how the people want you to succeed in anything you do, and they always have positive energy here to lift me up."
"The biggest strength of the JRB is that they help youth learn to take the right path and to be a more responsible person."
"I think the biggest strength of the JRB is the fact that they get kids to participate in programs such as the one I was in which really improved my behaviors and my actions."
"The way that they are so understanding and don't make you feel judged."
"The biggest strength of the JRP program, is that they don't treat their cases as if they're juveniles, they are very kind, and they let me feel like I was not just a case, but someone who matters. They never made me feel uncomfortable, and through out this whole experience I was able to meet new people, and stay of of detention!"
"The expectations that were set out for me encouraged me to stay on top of everything."