The Juvenile Division of the District Attorney’s Office is located in downtown Scranton. The division consists of four full-time staff members and one part-time member who are dedicated to the prosecution of all delinquency cases throughout Lackawanna County. The division strives to provide assistance and guidance to the victims of juvenile offenders by offering them counseling, support and help in recouping restitution.
Following the guidelines set forth by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the care, treatment, rehabilitation and supervision of all juvenile offenders under the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas is the main goal of the division. Working along with the Juvenile Probation Department as well as the Juvenile Court personnel, each delinquency matter filed is handled individually with various considerations in mind. A balanced and restorative justice approach weighs the impact of the offense on the victim, the affect of the action on the community and the best interests and needs of the child who is before the Court.
Great latitude is available in the Juvenile Justice System to treat the cause of the delinquent behavior and address any collateral issues that may be affecting the child. These problems often include difficulties at home, at school, with friends or perhaps the use and abuse of illegal substances. To that end, a wide range of options are available in Juvenile Court. These include Informal Adjustments, Consent Decrees, Intensive Probation, Juvenile Treatment Court, Graduated sanctions and Truancy sanctions.
The Juvenile Division handles between 600 and 700 cases per year. The delinquency acts rise to the level of both misdemeanor and felony level offenses and include such crimes as arson, rape, aggravated assault, theft, DUI, possession and distribution of drugs and vandalism to name a few. The division is involved in every aspect of the cases, including reviewing and approving charges that are presented by the arresting officer; meeting with and assisting both the victims and witnesses involved in the case; presenting the evidence before the Court and assisting in the determination as to what the best disposition would be for this child.
The disposition, known as sentencing in criminal court, could range from a period of supervised probation to short term detention to placement in a secure juvenile facility specializing in treating the juvenile offender. The staff also works closely with both Juvenile Probation and the Court to determine the best “step down” program to provide for the appropriate levels of care upon release from a facility in order to decrease the chance of a juvenile offending again. Active participation in the community is required by District Attorney Shane Scanlon for all members of his staff. The Juvenile staff responds to this directive by speaking at local grade schools and high schools about the effects and consequences of being petitioned to Juvenile Court by meeting with PTA groups about the importance of parental participation in all aspects of their child’s life and by conducting various community service events. The staff also works closely with the local School Resource Officers and Administrators to address issues unique to school age children. A proactive approach is taken with the schools and community in order to deter delinquent behavior that could be harmful and illegal.
For more information contact the Juvenile Division at (570) 963-6717.
Assistant District Attorneys:
Assistant District Attorney James T. Mulligan
Assistant District Attorney John Price
Assistant District Attorney P.J. LaBelle
Victim Witness Coordinator:
Juvenile Probation Officer: