In New Jersey, Stationhouse Adjustment (SHA) is an alternative method for police to handle first-time juvenile offenders with minor offenses. SHA provides immediate consequences, such as community service or restitution, while allowing the juvenile to avoid a formal juvenile delinquency record. This early intervention aims to deter youth from continuing their negative behavior and progressing further into the juvenile justice system.
Stationhouse Adjustment is an ongoing, cross-cutting initiative of the CCPYDC. Through a collaboration between police departments, school districts, chaplains and social service programs, CCPYDC facilitated the redesign of the SHA process for consistency throughout police departments, and secured additional allowable offenses and inclusion of juveniles with second or third arrests.
A Successful Initiative
Data collected indicates that CCPYDC’s Stationhouse Adjustment effort has been widely successful. Between 2013 and 2015, Cumberland County SHAs increased by 122%. Individually, all three municipalities have also increased the number of SHAs administered since 2013. Bridgeton, in particular, saw the greatest increase in SHAs, from 2 in 2013 to 35 in 2015; a growth of 1650%. SHAs in Millville and Vineland grew by 78.7% and 24%, respectively. The recidivism rate (a subsequent contact with law enforcement or an arrest) of youth who were administered a SHA in 2015 is very low at only 12.9%. SHAs appear to be benefiting youth in a multitude of positive ways: in addition to stemming repeat of delinquent behavior, the majority of parents/guardians surveyed reported a positive change in their child’s behavior after the completion of their SHA.
CCPYDC’s work with SHA continues with the creation of informational training videos for police officers and chaplains, as well as SHA resource cards to use in the field.
For more information on the program, see the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s Stationhouse Adjustments Guide.