Restorative Practices in Juvenile Court
* * * Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings * * * Sec. 6. 33 V.S.A. § 5225 is amended to read: § 5225. PRELIMINARY HEARING; RISK ASSESSMENT (a) Preliminary hearing. A preliminary hearing shall be held at the time and date specified on the citation or as otherwise ordered by the court. If a child is taken into custody prior to the preliminary hearing, the preliminary hearing shall be at the time of the temporary care hearing. Counsel for the child shall be assigned prior to the preliminary hearing. (b) Risk and needs screening. (1) Prior to the preliminary hearing, the child shall be afforded an opportunity to undergo a risk and needs screening, which shall be conducted by the Department or by a community provider that has contracted with the Department to provide risk and need screenings for children alleged to have committed delinquent acts. No. 201 Page 7 of 26 2018 VT LEG #333922 v.1 (2) If the child participates in such a screening, the Department or the community provider shall report the risk level result of the screening, the number and source of the collateral contacts made, and the recommendation for charging or other alternatives to the State’s Attorney. The State’s Attorney shall consider the results of the risk and needs screening in determining whether to file a charge. In lieu of filing a charge, the State’s Attorney may refer a child directly to a youth-appropriate community-based provider that has been approved by the Department, which may include a community justice center or a balanced and restorative justice program. Referral to a communitybased provider pursuant to this subsection shall not require the State’s Attorney to file a charge. If the community-based provider does not accept the case or if the child fails to complete the program in a manner deemed satisfactory and timely by the provider, the child’s case shall return to the State’s Attorney for charging consideration. (3) If a charge is brought in the Family Division, the risk level result shall be provided to the child’s attorney. Except on agreement of the parties, the results shall not be provided to the court until after a merits finding has been made. (c) Counsel for the child shall be assigned prior to the preliminary hearing. Referral to diversion. Based on the results of the risk and needs screening, if a child presents a low to moderate risk to reoffend, the State’s Attorney shall refer the child directly to court diversion unless the State’s Attorney states on No. 201 Page 8 of 26 2018 VT LEG #333922 v.1 the record why a referral to court diversion would not serve the ends of justice. If the court diversion program does not accept the case or if the child fails to complete the program in a manner deemed satisfactory and timely by the provider, the child’s case shall return to the State’s Attorney for charging consideration.