WHAT IS THE STATIONHOUSE ADJUSTMENT PROGRAM?
In 2005, the New Jersey Attorney General advised local police departments to participate in the Stationhouse Adjustment program (SHA). The SHA is an informal option for law enforcement officers who encounter and apprehend juvenile delinquents.
In lieu of charging the juvenile with a criminal offense or borough summons, the program allows the law enforcement officer to enter into a “contract” with the juvenile and his/her parents or legal guardian. The agreement will usually involve some measure of discipline and/or task which the juvenile must receive and satisfy.
The juvenile offender shall also go before the New Milford Juvenile Conference Committee (JCC) upon completion of the SHA. The JCC is composed of a group of volunteers who are interested in the welfare of our adolescents. They may also impose an extra measure of discipline if need be. If the juvenile does not comply with the terms of the contract or disciplinary measure, the original charges will be brought back, and the juvenile will have to go before a Judge.
This initiative is an excellent way to correct a child’s behavior, keep him or her out of the court system, and avoid a juvenile delinquency record. It is usually given to the first time offenders who commit:
- Borough Ordinance Violations
- Petty Disorderly Conduct
- Disorderly Conduct
- Some 4th degree crimes IF NO PRIOR CONTACT WITH POLICE
New Milford police officers or members of the JCC may also refer parents to local programs that offer counseling or direction for juveniles with specific needs.
I am in full support of this initiative and have witnessed many positive outcomes for New Milford youth.
Chief Frank Ramaci