GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KREX) — Jaque Berry and the Juvenile Diversion Center offer an alternative to having youths stand before a judge.

Jaque Berry is the director of the Juvenile Diversion Program, “it is a program to divert kids from the court process,” she told KREX. Berry said the court process can take as long as 6 to 9 months and that length of time can prevent kids from recognizing what they are getting punished for.

She explained it to me like this; imagine you have a child who you waited for 6 to 9 months to discipline. “The likelihood is that they don’t really make the connection between what they did and why they’re being punished,” Berry said. This is one of the main reasons why juvenile diversion has success.

“We’re seeing a lot of success with kids and families,” said Berry.

In the program, kids will write apology letters or make restitution to the victim(s). “we have a lot of kids do presentations to us and their school around why what they did was wrong,” Berry said.

Not every child qualifies for the diversion program. Mostly it’s reserved for first-time offenders and juveniles who did not commit felony crimes.