|Lower Grafton County Court Diversion|
Lower Grafton County Court Diversion (LGCCD) was created following the changes made to RSA 169-B beginning January 1, 2011 that require all court diversion programs in New Hampshire that provide court diversion to youth must be court approved. Valley Court Diversion Programs went through a three-month accreditation process and received written approval by Administrative Judge Edwin W. Kelly on April 11, 2011.
Law-enforcement officials in Lower Grafton County can refer first-time, low-level offenders to the LGCCD program as an alternative to going through the court system. LGCCD is a confidential and voluntary program; individuals are free to proceed in court at any time.
The court diversion process involves a case manager and community volunteers who make up the hearing panels. The case manager meets with the family to do an intake and assessment and then schedules the initial hearing. The hearing panel members reside in the Upper Valley, are trained in restorative justice practices, and come from many different backgrounds. The panel creates a Court Diversion Agreement (contract) that clearly states what offenders must do to make amends to victims, their families, and the community. To participate in the court diversion process, youth must take responsibility for their illegal behavior and be willing to accept the consequences.
Offenders are given 60-90 days to complete their restorative contract. If the offense is alcohol- or marijuana-related, offenders must attend a three-hour class on substance use as part of their contract. When they complete all the conditions of the contract and pay the program fee, their case is dismissed. If they fail to complete the contract, their case is returned to court.