More than a year ago, the nonprofit community organization AMOS (A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy) began working with Des Moines police on a mediation program that helps first-time, low- to mid-level juvenile offenders understand the impact of their actions directly from their victims.
The meetings, called victim-offender conferences, are face to face and mediated by AMOS volunteers who have received special training.
After the meetings, which can last an hour or more, offenders may do some type of community service. If they stay out of trouble for six months, any record of their criminal act is deleted from the police computer system; their names are never entered into the state juvenile court record system.
"Our goal is to keep children out of the system as much as possible so that they don't have a record," explained Rev. Dr. Brigitte A. Black.
AMOS Helps Juvenile Offenders Keep a Clean Record, Des Moines Register