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Partners In Justice. A Guide to the Juvenile Justice System. This project is supported by The Arc of North Carolina and the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities and the funds it receives through P.L. 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000.

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Partners In Justice

A Guide to the Juvenile Justice System

This project is supported by The Arc of North Carolina and the

NC Council on Developmental Disabilities and the funds it receives through P.L. 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000.

  • “DJJDP(‘s) . . . comprehensive strategy . . . focuses to strengthen families, promote delinquency prevention, support core social institutions, intervene immediately and effectively when delinquent behavior occurs, and identify and control the small group of serious, violent, and chronic juvenile offenders in the local communities.” (NCDJJDP website overview)
  • Undisciplined – runaway, truant from school, beyond the disciplinary control of parents or
  • Delinquent – has committed an offense that would be a crime if committed by an adult

An allegation by a citizen or law enforcement officer that a juvenile is:

complaint cont
Complaint (cont.)


  • Youth at least six years of age and less than 16 who are:
    • truant from school,
    • runaway for more than 24 hours, or
    • beyond the control of their parents.
  • Youth who are 16 and 17 who are runaway or beyond the control of their parents.


  • Youth at least six years of age and less than 16 who commit a crime.
law enforcement investigation
Law EnforcementInvestigation
  • A youth under the age of 14 must have a parent or guardian present at questioning.
  • For youth who are age 14 and older, the youth can waive the right to have parent or guardian present.
law enforcement investigation1
Law Enforcement Investigation

May lead to

  • Temporary custody of the juvenile
  • Diversion of the juvenile
    • Release to parent or guardian
    • Referral to a community resource
  • Referral to juvenile court intake
  • Secure or non-secure custody
temporary custody g s 7b 1900 7b 1901
Temporary CustodyG.S. 7B-1900, 7B-1901
  • Grounds would exist for arrest of an adult, or
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe the juvenile:
    • is undisciplined
    • has escaped from a detention facility or any residential facility operated by the Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Officer may assume temporary custody without a court order if:

fingerprints and photographs
Fingerprints and Photographs
  • The juvenile is in physical custody of law enforcement or DJJDP;
  • The juvenile allegedly committed a non-divertible offense;
  • The juvenile is at least 10 years old, and
  • A complaint has been prepared for filing as a petition

An officer must fingerprint and photograph

a juvenile if:

non divertible offenses g s 7b 1701
Non-divertible OffensesG.S. 7B-1701
  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Sexual offense
  • Arson
  • Felony drug offense
  • First degree burglary
  • Crime against nature
  • A felony involving infliction of serious injury or committed with a deadly weapon
fingerprints and photographs must be destroyed if
Fingerprints and PhotographsMust be Destroyed if:
  • No probable cause is found and the charge is dismissed, or
  • Juvenile is not adjudicated delinquent for any offense.

Fingerprints and photographs are not destroyed if:

  • Juvenile is adjudicated delinquent.
  • Fingerprints are sent to the SBI only if adjudication is for a felony.
court counselor authority
Court Counselor Authority

Serve necessary court papers relating to undisciplined or delinquent youth.

Assume custody of juveniles when necessary and use reasonable force/ restraint to do so.

Determine whether a complaint should be filed as a petition or diverted/closed.

court counselor authority con t
Court Counselor Authority con’t
  • Conduct visits (home, school, work, community) to assure successful completion of probation.
  • File motions for the court to re-review the original disposition of the case.
  • File report of violations of probation for court review.
court counselor responsibilities
Court Counselor Responsibilities
  • Prepare written reports for the court, including Risk Assessment and Needs Assessment.
  • Develop Plan of Service based on the Needs Assessment.
  • Advocate for youth with court, schools, and local service programs, as needed.
court counselor responsibility
Court Counselor Responsibility
  • Furnish parent/youth copies of probation conditions.
  • Meet regularly with youth on probation.
  • Assist in development of post-release supervision plans.
  • Document case activities and progress.
intake court counselor decides
Intake - Court Counselor Decides:
  • Is the complaint within the jurisdiction of the court?
  • Is there legal sufficiency for the complaint?
  • Is the complaint frivolous?
  • Is the complaint a non-divertible offense?
intake evaluation options
Intake Evaluation Options
  • Approve complaint for court.
  • Retain the case and divert from court with a plan or a contract – referral for service.
  • Close the case.
  • Diversions may be appealed to the DA.
intake decision criteria
Intake Decision Criteria
  • Protection of the community;
  • The seriousness of the offense;
  • The juvenile’s previous record of involvement with the legal system, including previous diversions; and
  • The juvenile’s behavior at home, in school, and in the community.
intake decision criteria cont d
Intake Decision Criteria - (cont’d)
  • The ability of the juvenile and the juvenile’s family to use resources;
  • Consideration of the victim;
  • The juvenile’s age; and
  • The juvenile’s culpability in the alleged complaint.
diversion plans
Diversion Plans
  • A Diversion Plan may include:
    • use of community resources including mental health services;
    • restitution;
    • community service;
    • victim-offender reconciliation;
    • teen court, in limited circumstances, OR
diversion plans and contracts cont d
Diversion Plans and Contracts-(cont’d)
  • A court counselor may enter into a “diversion contract” with the juvenile and the parent, guardian, or custodian, when it is determined that a higher degree of accountability is required.
diversion contract follow up
Diversion Contract Follow-up
  • Within 60 days, counselor must determine whether juvenile and parent have complied with contract.
  • Counselor may monitor diversion contract for up to six months.
  • Petition may be filed if juvenile does not comply with contract.
  • Must retain the contract until juvenile is 18 years old or out of the court’s jurisdiction, whichever is later.
secure custody criteria
Secure Custody Criteria
  • Demonstrated danger to property or persons and charged with a felony; or
  • Demonstrated danger to persons and charged with a misdemeanor with:
    • an element of assault, or
    • a threat to use or used a deadly weapon; or
  • Failed to appear for court after receiving notice; or
secure custody criteria cont d
Secure Custody Criteria - (cont’d)
  • Charged with a delinquent offense and the judge has reasonable cause to believe juvenile will not appear.
  • Absconded from a DJJDP facility or such a facility in another state;
  • Detained for self-protection (special circumstance);
secure custody criteria cont d1
Secure Custody Criteria - (cont’d)
  • Ran away – can be held for up to 24 hours to facilitate return to parent;
  • Undisciplined and failed to appear having received notice; and/or
  • Violated Probation – and is alleged to have damaged property or injured persons.
secure custody hearings
Secure Custody Hearings
  • To review need for secure custody.
  • Initial hearing held within 5 days of commitment to secure custody.
  • Hearings to determine need for continued custody at least every 10 days after initial custody hearing. The youth must be present for hearings.
hearings for felony petitions
Hearings for Felony Petitions
  • Inform the juvenile of the allegations;
  • Confirm the juvenile has an appointed or retained attorney;
  • Inform the juvenile of date of probable cause hearing; and
  • Inform parents of the requirement to attend all hearings.

First Appearance hearing within 10 days to:

hearings for felony petitions cont d
Hearings for Felony Petitions - (cont’d)
  • Probable Cause hearing is held if the juvenile is 13 or older.
  • If probable cause is found, a transfer hearing is scheduled upon motion or if required by statute.
  • If probable cause is not found, case is dismissed or adjudicated on lesser included offense.
hearings for felony petitions cont d1
Hearings for Felony Petitions - (cont’d)

Transfer Hearing:

  • Court determines if protection of the public and the needs of the juvenile will be served by transfer to superior court.
  • Factors for court to consider are set in statute.
  • A juvenile transferred and convicted in superior court will be prosecuted as an adult.
hearings for felony petitions cont d2
Hearings for Felony Petitions - (cont’d)

Adjudication Hearing determines if the facts alleged in the petition are true.

  • Juvenile has right to appointed counsel for delinquency cases or for contempt hearings in undisciplined cases.
  • Rules of evidence are the same as in adult criminal cases.
adjudication hearing cont d
Adjudication Hearing - (cont’d)
  • Standard of proof
    • Delinquent petition - beyond a reasonable doubt
    • Undisciplined petition – clear and convincing evidence
purpose of disposition
Purpose of Disposition
  • To meet the needs of the juvenile
  • To protect the public
  • Parent, guardian and juvenile must comply with court orders
  • Court orders may include consequences, treatment, training and rehabilitation requirements, such as community service and restitution.
dispositions for undisciplined juveniles
Dispositions for Undisciplined Juveniles
  • Dismiss the case.
  • Continue the case for up to 6 months to allow family to take appropriate action.
  • Order evaluation; final disposition postponed until evaluation completed.
  • Refer juveniles with mental illness or developmental disabilities to local mental health director.
dispositions for undisciplined juveniles cont d
Dispositions for Undisciplined Juveniles - (cont’d)
  • Supervision in own home
  • Change in custody
  • Release from compulsory school attendance pursuant to court-approved plan
  • Protective supervision up to 3 months with conditions; possible 3-month extension
disposition for delinquent juveniles
Disposition for Delinquent Juveniles
  • Dismiss the case
  • Continue case for up to 6 months to allow family to take appropriate action
  • Order evaluation; hold hearing on treatment
  • Refer juvenile with mental illness or developmental disabilities to local mental health director
disposition for delinquent juveniles cont d
Options outlined in the dispositional chart

Placement on the chart is based on the seriousness of the offense (Level of Charge) and delinquency history (prior offenses rated by points) of the juvenile.

Disposition for Delinquent Juveniles - (cont’d)
disposition levels
Disposition levels
  • Level 1 Community Disposition (Includes probation)
  • Level 2 Intermediate Disposition (Includes probation/more severe intervention)
  • Level 3 Commitment (Youth Development Centers)
minor charges class 1 2 3 misdemeanors
Minor Charges(Class 1, 2, 3 Misdemeanors)
  • Level 1 – Low History:
    • Community based program
    • Community service up to $100 hours
    • Restitution up to $500
    • Suspension of driver’s license
    • Curfew
    • Counseling including intensive SA treatment
    • Regular Probation
serious charges class f i felonies a1 misdemeanors
Serious Charges(Class F-I Felonies & A1 Misdemeanors)
  • Level 2 – Medium History
    • Eckerd wilderness Camp
    • Structured Day Program
    • Community Service (100-200 hours)
    • Restitution of more than $500
    • Regimented Training Program
    • Intensive Supervision Probation
    • House Arrest with/without electronic monitoring
    • Multi-purpose group home
violent charges class a e felonies
Violent Charges(Class A-E Felonies)
  • Level 3 – High History
    • Commitment
  • Level 3 – Medium History
    • Commitment
  • Level 1 – Low History
    • Eckerd Wilderness Camp
    • Structured Day Program
  • Minimum of 6 months
  • Up to 18th, 19th or 21st birthday – depending on offense
  • Upon release, minimum of 90 days post release supervision
  • Jurisdiction terminated by court
youth development centers
Youth Development Centers

What happens when a juvenile is committed to a YDC?

First Stop: Assessment Center

  • Physical Health
  • Mental Health
  • Psychological Health
  • Educational Achievement
  • Vocational Interest and Aptitude
plan of care
Plan of Care
  • Information from various evaluations blended and summarized
  • Recommendations for treatment and education
  • Referrals for screening or to the IEP team for Exceptional Children’s Services
  • Selection of facility assignment based upon recommendations
services in the youth development centers
Services in the YouthDevelopment Centers
  • Health Services
  • Recreation
  • Treatment
    • Substance Abuse
    • Sex Offender
    • Anger Management
    • Victim Empathy
    • Cognitive Behavioral Restructuring
services in ydc con t
Services in YDC (con’t)
  • Education
    • NC Standard Course of Study
    • GED
    • Vocational
    • Distance Education (post HS or GED studies)
exceptional children s program
Exceptional Children’s Program
  • Services provided in accordance with federal regulations
    • FAPE
    • Least Restrictive Environment
    • Appropriate Supplemental Aides and Modifications
    • Parental Due Process
    • Parental involvement in decision making
    • Transition Services
  • Transition Planning should begin upon entry – Exit Upon Entry
  • Maintain and strengthen community connections
  • Strengthen the family while the child is in the YDC
transition services
Transition Services
  • Pre-release conference
    • Community mental health needs
    • Continued educational opportunities
      • Re-entry into public school
      • Community College
        • GED program
        • Adult Basic Skills Program
        • Post High School/GED study (scholarships)
    • Group Home placements
post release supervision
Post Release Supervision
  • Minimum of 90 days
  • Maximum of one year
  • Re-commitment for violation – minimum 3 months

Written plan specific to needs of the juvenile and protection of the public


This presentation was developed especially for North Carolina by Partners in Justice, a statewide collaborative effort designed to assist individuals with cognitive disabilities who are at risk of becoming involved in the criminal justice system. The North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities provided grant funding to The Arc of North Carolina to support the project. Many different, excellent training materials were researched and adapted with special consideration for the specific needs of the citizens of North Carolina.

Special thanks goes to Carolina Legal Assistance; the members of the PIJ Advisory Committee; George R. “Pete” Clary III, Public Defender, Judicial District 21; Ms. Jeri Houchins, Project Coordinator, Justice Now! Of the People, By the People, and For the People; and, Ms. Diane Nelson Bryen and Ms. Beverly Frantz, National Academy for Equal Justice, for People with Developmental Disabilities, Institute on Disabilities at Temple University.

Partners in Justice dedicates this presentation to the memory of Deborah Greenblatt, Esq., a tireless advocate for

people with disabilities and charter member of the Partners

in Justice Advisory Committee.