What is the Juvenile Arbitration Program?

Juvenile Arbitration is a community based diversion program designed to divert first time, non-violent/non-status offenders from the juvenile justice system. They are diverted to an informal arbitration hearing that is conducted by trained volunteers.

What Does the Program Offer?

  • Offender Accountability
  • Victim Reparation
  • Community Reparation
  • Reduction in caseload in the Juvenile Justice System
  • Lower recidivism (repeat offenders) rates in the First Judicial Circuit
  • Increase community involvement and pride

How Does it Work

Participants in the arbitration process include a trained citizen volunteer, the juvenile offender and his or hers parent(s)/guardian(s), the crime victim, and the arresting officer. The juvenile’s participation is voluntary and requires an admission of facts in the case and guilt. After determining the facts of the case, the arbitrator negotiates the appropriate actions the juvenile must take to restore justice to his or her victim and the community. The arbitrator listens to all parties and establishes a set of sanctions to be completed by the juvenile. The actions may include:

  • Paying monetary restitution (typically no more than $500)
  • Performing community service
  • Making charitable donations
  • Participating in counseling
  • Writing topical essays
  • Writing a letter of apology to the victim
  • Attending substance abuse seminars
  • Participating in victim impact classes
  • Visiting correctional institutions
  • Home restriction

Who Participates?

The volunteer arbitrators are citizens of Orangeburg, Calhoun and Dorchester counties. They must be at least twenty-one years old, possess a high school education, and complete a training course held annually. The program’s major assets are community volunteers who devote time and concern to the children of our community. Why? Community arbitration is a cost effective method that allows the community to become involved in the juvenile justice system. It allows juvenile offenders the opportunity to take responsibility for their actions in the form of:

  • Restitution
  • Jail Tours
  • Donations to Civic Groups
  • Referrals to Social Service agencies
  • Letters of apology
  • Written reports

There is no initial enrollment fee for our Juvenile Diversion programs, however, a fee for removal of the charge from the juvenile’s record may apply at the appropriate time.

If you have any questions, please contact: