Juvenile Justice Initiatives

The Juvenile Offenders Diversion Programs (JODP) and Youth Delinquency and Violence Prevention (YDVP) workshops are restorative-justice-based initiatives designed to reduce and prevent delinquent behavior among youths. These programs offer at-risk and delinquent juveniles the opportunity to learn constructive ways to manage conflict, control their anger, and make better decisions in their lives. Recidivism statistics show that juveniles who go through the juvenile offender adjudication process have a 44.4% chance of being rearrested within three years while youths who attend a juvenile offender diversion workshop have less than a 24% chance of recidivating within the same amount of time.
(Sources: Chernoff, N. & Watson, B. (2000). An Investigation of Philadelphia's Youth Aid Panel: A Community-Based Diversion Program for First-Time Youthful Offenders. Philadelphia: Public/Private Ventures and Good Shepherd Mediation Program: Court & Community Services "in-house JODP recidivism tracking")

Good Shepherd Mediation Program offers the following workshops for juvenile offenders and youth at risk of delinquency:

  • Conflict Resolution Workshops for Youth Aid Panel Referrals - Youth who have committed misdemeanor and simple felonies are referred by the Philadelphia Office of the District Attorney's 28 Youth Aid Panels. Participants attend the same workshops as the summary offenders. Youth who participate in this program must have admitted their involvement in the delinquent act with which they were charged.
  • Effects of Retail Theft Module - In addition to learning conflict resolution techniques, this portion of the Conflict Resolution workshop addresses personal and social pressures that can trigger retail theft and hardships that shoplifters face in their lives, retail theft law and its consequences, and behavior modification techniques.
  • Impact of Auto Theft (IAT) Workshops - Youth who have committed auto theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and other auto-related offenses are referred by the Youth Aid Panels, probation officers, and Family Court judges. This module focuses on the impact of auto-theft related offenses on the youth, the victim, and the community. City-wide referrals are accepted.
  • Youth Delinquency and Violence Prevention Workshops - Youth at risk of delinquency are referred to conflict resolution workshops at GSMP by parents, teachers, faith leaders, recreation center staff, and other social service organizations in Philadelphia and surrounding communities. Having youths who have not been arrested participate side by side with juvenile offenders serves as an additional deterrent.