Juvenile Diversion

State's Attorney Office - Juvenile Diversion

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Our Purpose

The Juvenile Diversion Program is designed to help offenders understand the consequences of their crimes and help them make better choices about their futures. While requirements are stringent, participants can complete the program while remaining in school and participating in other ongoing activities.

About the Program

The Juvenile Diversion Program, which includes Teen Court and Truancy Intervention Program, is a collaboration between the Pennington County State’s Attorney, the 7th Judicial Court, and local social service providers. It is offered as an alternative to court involvement for juvenile offenders ages 10-17.

Charges typically eligible for diversion include:

  • Minor consumption/possession of alcohol
  • Shoplifting
  • Simple assault
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Disturbance in school
  • Truancy
  • Marijuana or drug paraphernalia

How Services are Provided

To develop the most effective program, an initial needs assessment is conducted with the offender and his or her family to determine needs and set goals. Depending on the offense committed and the individual needs of each offender, staff may recommend any or all the following:

  • Community Service
  • Drug testing
  • Writing an apology letter to the victim
  • Drug/alcohol evaluations
  • Mediation through the Center for Restorative Justice
  • Participating on a M.A.D.D. Victim Impact Panel
  • Taking classes
  • Additional screening and evaluations, either during the program or after its conclusion

Key Program Components

Through a combination of needs assessment, counseling, classes and other activities, the three-month program works to:

  • Reduce the number of first-time offenders exposed to the justice system
  • Provide services to meet the needs of offenders and their families
  • Hold juveniles accountable for their actions
  • Reduce the rate of juvenile re-offenders

Juveniles and their guardians must consent to participating in the Juvenile Diversion Program.  Juvenile Diversion staff may make random contact with the offender and his or her family during the course of the program to make sure that program requirements are being met and to monitor progress; however, the primary responsibly for completing the program rests with the offender and the family.

Classes and Services

The following are some of the classes and other activities that may be required during the three-month program. Participants are responsible for all program costs. Scholarships may be available for families needing financial assistance. 

Property Offense and Stop & Think Classes
A two-hour class emphasizing choices and consequences. 

Community Service
Juveniles work as volunteers in the community for a specific number of hours in either Diversion-arranged projects or at other sites arranged by the family.

A drug and alcohol education class offered through the Rapid City School District.  For more information go to https://www.lifeways.us/.

Skills for Life
A weekly three-hour class that features guest presenters on various topics including: goal setting, drug education, sexual health, job hunting, and accountability.

Tattoo Removal
Juveniles wanting tattoos removed, can be referred to T.R.U.S.T. (Tattoo Removal Unified Support Team)


Other Resources

South Dakota Coalition for Children