The Clean Slate Program helps first-time juvenile offenders get back on track to becoming successful well-adjusted adults.
The emphasis of the program is to teach life skills and purposeful, goal-oriented decision making. It gives these young men and women the ability to have a second chance, and to avoid a criminal record which could otherwise impact them negatively as adults.
In order to be eligible to participate, a juvenile must be granted a “stationhouse adjustment” by local law enforcement in their home town. Instead of being prosecuted through the court system for a criminal offense, with the permission of the juvenile’s parents and guardians, the participants sign contracts agreeing to an alternative plan of action. In appropriate circumstances, the requirements of a stationhouse adjustment can be fulfilled by successfully completing the Clean Slate Program.
Clean Slate was started in 2009 by a coalition of dedicated members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office as well as local police departments. The role of local law enforcement remains an important component of the program. There are two sessions each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. In each session, there are up to 25 juveniles that range between 14-17 years of age.
The Clean Slate Program lasts seven weeks, meeting once a week at the Middlesex County Police Training Center in Edison, from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Each participant is dropped off by their parent or guardian at their local police department. The police officers then transport them to the program, stay with the juvenile for the duration of the class, and then transport them safely back to their town.
During the weekly meetings, the juveniles take part in interactive programs, instructional periods, and mentoring activities that promote teamwork, education, self-esteem, and mental self-examination. During each session, the juveniles are provided a nutritious meal. As they eat dinner, they are mentored by the police officers and other guest speakers. These dedicated law enforcement officers make the Clean Slate Program such a success.
Upon graduation from Clean Slate, no charges will be filed against the juvenile for their initial criminal offenses. Family members are invited and encouraged to attend the graduation ceremony.
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