An Investigation of Philadelphia's Youth Aid Panel: A Community-Based Diversion Program for First-Time Youthful Offenders

by Bernardine H. Watson; Nina W. Chernoff

Sep 30, 2000

The formal justice system currently does not have the resources to effectively deal with nonviolent first-time offending youth, oftentimes leaving them with little punishment aside from a criminal record. This report offers a close examination of Philadelphia's Youth Aid Panels (YAP), which seeks to provide alternative sentencing for this high-risk population through the collaboration of volunteer community members, victims, parent(s)/guardian and a law enforcement official. YAP offers victims a better sense of restitution while also providing the youth with the real opportunity to reintegrate into society without a record. Our initial exploratory evaluation shows promising results, and we offer a several recommendations to strengthen YAP programs.
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