A model system fosters a culture of responsibility. First, it insists that young people accept responsibility for their actions—and take active measures to repair any harm they may have done to others.
A model system also invites and expects adults to accept responsibility. It builds and broadens partnerships with the families and local communities of the youth it serves.
Finally, a model system accepts responsibility for its own performance, actively tracking and monitoring its record of successes and failures and responding appropriately as a system.
A juvenile justice system that is dedicated to these principles will engage in these responsibility-enforcing practices:
- A flexible and graduated system of sanctions and incentives
- Meaningful community service programs
- Victim restitution programs
- Victim impact/awareness training and other developmentally appropriate accountability program components
- Policies and decision-making criteria that favor appropriate diversion at arrest, intake, and adjudication stages
- A continuum of local alternatives to formal processing, detention, and incarceration
- Least restrictive/nearest to home alternatives systematically preferred in all decision-making
- Inclusion of community members and organizations in local planning and development, diversion policy-setting, and creation of community service opportunities
- Active recruitment of community members to teach, mentor, monitor, and informally resolve disputes among youth
- Mechanisms for tracking and reporting case-level successes and failures (new offenses, restitution paid, community service performed, etc.) at case termination