We would like to establish a regional JRB for the towns within our court district. We would have a set board membership and set procedures for all towns within our court district to use. This would be a solution to those towns who do not have JRB’s by offering them an alternative to court, which will also divert more cases away from an overburdened court system with no funding. We could work directly with the prosecutors at the court in addition to the probation officers. What issues might we encounter?The following questions come to mind when considering such a regional JRB:
The towns in Connecticut, like many New England states, are very independent and previous attempts to regionalize certain aspects of government have failed because of this "independent attitude" or, put another way, the stubbornness of people in power to do anything that they perceive as relinquishing their power or giving power to some other entity. It goes back to the colonial days when they broke away from the King of England and only reluctantly formed the union of the United States. Even then, they made sure that the federal government only had the authority given to it by the states and that everything else remained within the authority of the states.
So the bottom line is that I think it makes sense to combine resources between or among towns to serve the population. Such ventures should be started small however and allowed to expand as appropriate. So, instead trying to get several of the towns that fall into your juvenile court venue to create a regional JRB, you might want to start with one town teaming up with one or two other towns that share a similar population and interest and write up a memorandum of agreement that would create a regional JRB program.
The JRB operated by AHM Youth Services is an example of a very successful regional JRB. The towns of Andover, Hebron, Marlborough and Columbia are all part of that program. I'm sure someone from AHM would be happy to sit with you and go over the issues they have learned should be covered by such an agreement since they have had a regional board for some time.
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