Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
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Orange County's Juvenile Court Work Program

We have all made mistakes in our youth. After all, teenagers are known for making bad choices, hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” or succumbing to peer pressure. Sometimes, these mistakes are quickly forgotten. Other times, they turn into a pattern of criminal behavior and a lifetime of consequence.

Over 30 years ago, the Juvenile Court Program was established here in Orange County. This program acts as a valuable alternative to incarceration for juvenile offenders who qualify. Instead of being committed in a juvenile camp or in Juvenile Hall, male and female juvenile offenders physically work off their debt to society through enrollment in the Juvenile Court Work Program.

When a young man or woman is accepted into this program, they serve a total of 20 eight-hour days working in the sunshine with a work crew. This comes out to 10 full weekends. The program goes so far as to accommodate juvenile offenders for weekend jobs and school sporting events.

It is Not Easy Work

From most parents’ perspectives, the Juvenile Court Work program is an excellent alternative to commitment in a juvenile institution, plus it forces their sons and daughters to pay society back for their mistakes.

To a lot of the juveniles enrolled in the program – it’s not “fun” or “easy” work. In fact, many of the youth who have completed the program say they would have preferred to spend 30 days at Juvenile Hall rather than spend 10 days working on the program.

“The Work Program is not an ‘easy out’ for delinquent behavior. The program is very structured and the work is tough,” according to ocgov.com. The youth in the program are productive and they’re kept very busy. Cities, schools and other government agencies actually pay to have these juvenile crews come out and improve their properties.

Most of the young men and women in the program are 15 and 16-years-old, but children as young as 11 and young adults as old as 21 have participated in the program. If a juvenile offender fails to complete the program, he or she will be sent back to Juvenile Court and they will likely serve time in a juvenile institution, in addition to other sanctions.

Some of the work the crews do:

  • Clearing brush
  • Clearing weeds
  • Clearing debris
  • Landscaping
  • Packing sandbags for flooding
  • Collecting trash in parks
  • Picking up trash at beaches
  • Painting over graffiti
  • Helping schools prepare for fires and rain

Related: “Sealing Juvenile Records in California”

Is your son or daughter facing criminal charges in Orange County? If so, contact our office to set up a free case evaluation with an experienced and caring member of our legal team.

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