Picente, Caldwell, McNamara, Maciol and City of Utica and Utica City School District Sign Comprehensive Arrest Diversion Agreement

In 2015 State of the County Address, County Executive Anthony Picente, created a team to develop a County-wide Arrest Diversion Program which can be a model for the rest of New York State and will build upon the success of the Utica School District and Utica Safe Schools Diversion Program. The Utica School District. Utica Police Department and Utica Safe Schools pilot diversion program only in Utica Schools has a 92% success rate.

The purpose of the County Wide Arrest Diversion Program is to provide services and assistance to juveniles who are charged with crimes or acts of juvenile delinquency before those juveniles enter the Criminal or Juvenile Justice System in an effort to prevent those juveniles from further penetrating those systems.

County Executive Picente said “This initiative is an unprecedented step in reforming juvenile justice in Oneida County and the State of New York.  This is a unique information sharing and collaborative inter-agency process that will reduce crime while giving children the chance to succeed.

In order to develop a larger comprehensive county-wide arrest diversion program Members of the Oneida County team attended an Information sharing Certificate Program and were admitted to the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Fellows Network following the approval of their capstone project.  The Oneida County team’s capstone project, titled Reforming Juvenile Justice Practices in Oneida County is focused on diverting youth from the juvenile and criminal justice system by providing intervention services catered to the specific needs of the juvenile offender.

This program has already begun to take actions including; creation of a governing board, finalizing types of divertible offences, creation of accountability services, student referral process, addressing non-responsive students, quality control measures, creation of this MOU, creation of Universal Information Sharing Wavier and interagency agreement.

This signing is a Memorandum of Understanding to reform Juvenile Justice Practices in Oneida County focused on diverting youth from the juvenile and criminal justice system by providing intervention services catered to the specific needs of the juvenile offender. This program will divert youth from dangerous, counterproductive paths.

Signatories:

Judge Randal Caldwell:  “This is a vital step for family court and our community by diverting children who may commit low level, non-violent offences from being arrested and entering a system in which many struggle to get out of.”

Sheriff Rob Maciol: “Keeping youth out of the criminal justice system is vital and it takes comprehensive information sharing program and collaborative process for it to work.”

District Attorney Scott McNamara: “Anytime we can divert youth from the criminal justice system for low level, non-violent offences is beneficial to our community and the child.”

Mayor Robert Palmieri “As we continue to make the City of Utica and our community safer this is a vital step to diverting youth from our criminal justice system. We have seen it work in our Utica Schools and look forward to the next step.”