With the Law

With the Law.png

Our Response

Through St. Paul Youth Services’ Pre-Charge Diversion Program we offer a restorative justice approach, helping youth who’ve been charged with a minor offense pursue a more productive path and stay out of the juvenile justice system.

They make restitution to their victims, get connected to supportive community resources, and are held accountable for their actions in a way that helps them grow.

97% of our Diversion program participants did not have another arrest in the following six months.


  • Youth of color are more likely than their white peers to be arrested for a delinquency offense, sent to detention facilities, and prosecuted as adults

  • Youth in prison are more likely than peers to drop out of school and have difficulty finding work

  • About 60% of incarcerated youth were released without a place to live; only a third received help securing housing

  • The earlier a child commits a crime, the more likely the child will become a chronic and violent offender


Our Pre-Charge Diversion program offers an alternative to juvenile court for a range of first time offenses such as shoplifting, property damage, disorderly conduct, and curfew violations and gives youth a chance to learn from their mistakes.

We keep young people out of the criminal justice system, avoiding the detrimental impacts incarceration has on their lives and on our community – in terms of education, employment, homelessness, and other measures of well-being.

Our program gives youth a second chance by helping them understand how their choices affect their goals, their families, and their community and restoring them to a more positive path. Through a highly-effective combination of counseling and community service, we hold young people accountable for their actions, while helping them and their families develop tools to make better decisions in the future and avoid further criminal activity.

254 young people went through our Diversion program in 2014. To date, just 1 young person has been re-arrested.

One Child’s Story

One child’s testimonial about participating in SPYS’ Diversion program.

One child’s testimonial about participating in SPYS’ Diversion program.