Community Justice Panels
The Community Justice Panel Program is a youth aid panel diversion program designed to utilize trained community volunteers to effectively handle first-time, juvenile offenders charged with summary and misdemeanor offenses. Community volunteers uphold Balanced and Restorative Justice Principals. The offender and family meet with the panel of volunteers to discuss the crime, school, and home/life issues. The goals of the program are accomplished through the panel’s creation of a contract for the youth to complete. Successful completion results in no adjudication of delinquency and in most cases, the dismissal of fines and court-related costs. If the youth does not complete the contract they are processed through the traditional court system.
This program was recognized by the Pennsylvania Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission and won the prestigious “Community-Based Program of the Year ” award. A Lehigh County Proclamation from Jane Ervin, County Executive, was also received, recognizing the work by the volunteers and the success of the program. Currently there are 13 panels through out the Lehigh Valley located in: Emmaus, Whitehall, Allentown (2 panels), Southern Lehigh (2 panels), Fountain Hill, Bethlehem, Salisbury, Macungie, Lower Macungie, Slatington and South Whitehall.