What is the Juvenile Review Board (JRB)?

Juvenile Review Board (JRB) diverts juvenile offenders from the juvenile justice system and engages youth having attendance and behavioral challenges in school and the community. This program is ideal for either first-time offenders who have committed a misdemeanor or who qualify under the Family with Service Needs (FWSN) statute and youth who are second time offenders who are included on a case by case basis. The JRB program provides youth, who take responsibility for their actions, an opportunity to avoid going to juvenile court and/or being suspended by accepting supportive case management. Youth are engaged by a group of volunteer community members that include law enforcement, school personnel, service providers, their victims, and their parents/guardians.

Who Does the JRB Serve?

JRB’s mission is to serve up to 200 youth annually between ages 11 and 17. In 2021, we served 223 youth from New Haven and Hamden. Of the 159 cases closed, 71% were closed successfully. Since the inception of the New Haven Juvenile Review Board, there has been a 45% reduction in the number of juveniles entering the juvenile justice system as first-time offenders.

How Does JRB Divert Youth?

Accordingly, the JRB assists the youth in developing an understanding of how his or her behavior affected the individual who was the subject of the crime and the community in which he or she lives, acknowledging that the behavior was harmful to themselves and others both directly and indirectly. This also enables the child to take action to repair the harm, either directly, where possible, or indirectly. Finally, through this process, the JRB assists the child in developing competencies that will enable the child to effect necessary changes in their behavior to avoid re-offending in the future.

What Does JRB Offer?

JRB offers youth support in job readiness, life skills, stipend employment opportunities, internships, tutoring and other subsidized employment opportunities not otherwise available in the community. In addition to these programs, we extend Treatment Services which may include evaluation, counseling services, mentoring and mediation support.

How Do We Implement Racial Justice?

UCA has also been working to address racial inequities in education in the community by serving African American and Latinx students in schools in New Haven, Bridgeport and Hartford. One of our goals has been to reduce the school to prison pipeline for African American and Latinx youth. Since the implementation of the JRB program in New Haven and Hamden, first time juvenile offender referrals have decreased by 46 percent for black and brown juvenile offenders.

Volunteer Panel

Community Volunteers benefit by engaging with young people, offering understanding, and listening to the circumstances which led to crimes – circumstances like absenteeism, having no social activities, mental health, disengagement, and financial hardships.

When volunteers share their input, we work together as a unit and offer a platform that allows these families a chance to speak with others who are willing to assist them.

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice model:

UCA implements Balanced and Restorative Justice as the conceptual framework, based on specific values and principles, that defines and guides the activities employed to translate these values into practice. Restorative justice provides an alternative to the punishment and offender rehabilitation approaches to delinquency, although it does not eliminate the appropriate use of confinement and treatment.

These are the 11 key principles of the Balanced and Restorative Justice philosophy which provides the framework for the New Haven/Hamden JRB:

  1. Crime is an injury.
  2. Crime hurts victims, communities, and juvenile offenders and creates an obligation to make things right.
  3. All parties should be a part of the response to the crime, including the victim if he or she wishes, the community, and the juvenile offender.
  4. The victim’s perspective is central to deciding how to repair the harm caused by the crime.
  5. Accountability for the juvenile offender means accepting responsibility and acting to repair the harm done.
  6. The community is responsible for the well-being of all its members, including both victims and offenders.
  7. All human beings have dignity and worth.
  8. Restoration or repairing the harm and rebuilding relationships in the community is the primary goal of juvenile justice.
  9. Results are measured by how much repair was done rather than by how much punishment was inflicted.
  10. Crime control cannot be achieved without active involvement of the community.
  11. The juvenile justice process is respectful of different cultures and backgrounds—whether racial, ethnic, geographic, religious, economic, age, abilities, family status, sexual orientation, or other—and all are given equal protection and due process.