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News & Press: Fairfax J&DR District Court

Pre-Disposition Assessment Pilot (PDAP)

Monday, February 13, 2017  
Posted by: Courtnie Norris
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Members of the Fairfax Bar Association:

 

In furtherance of efforts to advance juvenile justice best practices by focusing on strength-based positive youth development, and by implementing and sustaining evidence-based practices, with the goal of reducing recidivism and improving outcomes for children, families, victims, and the community, the Court will undertake the Pre-Disposition Assessment Pilot (PDAP).

 

Specific details are as follows:

 

Name of Pilot Program: Pre-Disposition Assessment Pilot

 

Length of Pilot: March 1, 2017 – August 31, 2017 with data to be collected through the end of 2017/beginning of 2018.

 

Courtrooms Impacted: 3F (Judge Sotelo) and 3H (Judge Petit)

 

Purpose and Intent/Goals of Pilot: To employ best and evidence-based practices with fidelity prior to the dispositional stage of the juvenile justice process; to assess risk and needs using scientifically valid tools; to target interventions at specific risk areas; to collect the data necessary to measure the results of these efforts, in particular with respect to recidivism; and, to continue work to improve the quality of decisions, services and programs.

 

Targeted Population: All juveniles with new delinquent offenses (excluding probation violations) whether the juvenile is or is not under supervision and whether the juvenile has or does not have a probation officer.

 

Process:  Once the Court finds the juvenile delinquent or facts sufficient to find the juvenile delinquent, whether by plea agreement, plea recommendation, or plea without recommendation or after trial, the juvenile’s case will be continued for disposition to a date certain (approximately 6 weeks later) and will be referred for an investigation and report to the Court Service Unit.

 

For each case, the Commonwealth and Defense Counsel/Defendant shall be required to complete a blue sheet.

 

The Probation Officer will complete a comprehensive investigation (which will include, in part, consideration of information from the Commonwealth and the victim and other sources) and meet with the juvenile and relevant family and complete the pre-screen Youth Assessment Screening Instrument (YASI).  If the results of the pre-screen YASI indicate a low risk to re-offend, the Probation Officer will communicate the results to the Court and the Parties and make recommendations based on Risk, Need and Responsivity Principles. 

 

If the results of the pre-screen YASI indicate a moderate or high risk to re-offend, the Probation Officer will complete a formal Investigation and Report which will include the results of the full YASI.  The Probation Officer will communicate the results to the Court and the Parties and make recommendations based on Risk, Need and Responsivity Principles.

 

If the matter was resolved by plea agreement, the Court will either accept or decline to accept the plea agreement.  If the Court declines to accept the plea agreement and the parties do not accept the Court’s modifications to the plea agreement, the matter will be set for trial in a different courtroom.

 

If the matter was resolved by plea recommendation, by plea with no recommendation or by trial, the Court will dispose of the matter after consideration of the information provided above, and other evidence presented and argument of counsel at the dispositional hearing.

 

Data Collection: Various data will be collected to measure the results of these efforts, including. but not limited to, feasibility of implementing such changes system wide and as to recidivism.

 

Any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Judge Sotelo or Judge Petit.

 

Thomas P. Sotelo

Chief Judge

Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court

For the County of Fairfax


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