The Youth Diversion Program is a pre-court probation program which allows juveniles to voluntarily participate in exchange for an appearance in court and a conviction on their record. The program is designed to provide juveniles with a chance to learn from their criminal violations and avoid becoming repeat offenders.
The Youth Diversion Program is managed by the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office and requires that the juvenile be a first time offender and in school prior to being considered to participate. Once accepted into the program, participants are assigned a number of community service hours to be completed, an educational program(s) which pertains to the charge they received, random drug/alcohol testing, an essay about themselves, an apology letter to person(s) who were affected by their actions, an essay about what they have learned from their experience, and a minimum of two monthly check-ins with the Diversion Officer. The program maintains a close relationship with the Natrona County School District to ensure Diversion participants maintain compliance with their educational plan.
Youth Diversion has implemented a community donation program which allows juveniles who would typically be referred to court for criminal charges to donate to community non-profit organizations that benefit juveniles.
The Youth Diversion Officer is a member of the Central Intake Team, which consists of members from the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department, the Natrona County District Attorney’s office, Department of Family Services, the Natrona County School District, and the Department of Corrections. The Central Intake Team meets weekly to discuss juvenile charges and assist in matching the appropriate program with each juvenile offender.
The Youth Diversion Officer also participates in the Circuit Court Juvenile Probation Program, where juveniles who are considered high risk or have offended multiple times, are court ordered to an intense supervised probation program that includes daily monitoring, counseling, frequent drug/alcohol screenings, and mandatory schooling. This group meets weekly to discuss each participant’s progress, rewarding positive behavior and recommending sanctions prior to weekly court hearings.
Finally, the Youth Diversion Officer is also a committee member with the Juvenile Justice Service Board which meets monthly and consists of participants the school district, Department of Family Services, Mercer House, YCC, CWCC, Wyoming Behavioral Institute, JDC, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Natrona County District Attorney’s office, and a community service coordinator. This group discusses programs either currently in place or ways to improve services within the community, specifically ways to work together to benefit juveniles in the community.
Officer Scott Cogdill
Youth Diversion Officer
Casper Police Department