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Purpose clauses, 2016

  • No clause

  • Parens patriae

  • Due process era

  • Balanced and Restorative Justice (BARJ)

  • Developmental Approach

Wisconsin’s clause, entitled "Title, legislative intent and purposes" of the Juvenile Justice Code mentions diversion, due process, and aligns with BARJ as it stresses community protection, individualized offender accountability and competency development for offenders.  Rarely mentioned in other state purpose clauses, WI includes protections for witnesses and cultural protections for Indian juveniles in both voluntary and involuntary out-of-home care placements.

WI ST §938.01

Intake and diversion, 2016

Initial intake and court diversion decision is at the discretion of the prosecutor or the juvenile court intake officer.

In Wisconsin, once a child is taken into custody and not released home, the judge or designated intake worker (can be Department of Corrections Staff) (JPO) determines whether the juvenile should be held, whether there is legal sufficiency for jurisdiction, and whether prosecution can be deferred. When prosecution can be deferred, after conferring with the victim, the JPO develops an agreement, which may not include any out-of-home placement and can last for up to one year. Conditions may include: counseling (individual, family, parenting skills), compliance with obligations (supervision, curfew, school attendance), D&A assessment, parent restitution, community service, supervised work program, volunteer in probation (mentoring/monitoring, etc.), teen court, youth report center (program), and (for habitual truancy) for parents to attend school with the juvenile. Petitions for juveniles in need of protection or services may be filed by the district attorney (DA), the corporation counsel (if designated by the county board of supervisors), or the counsel/guardian ad litem for a parent, juvenile, or relative. Petitions for delinquency can only be filed by the district attorney (DA).

Once a petition is filed, but before the entry of judgement, the court may place the juvenile under consent decree, which requires agreement from the juvenile, caregiver/s, and the person filing the petition. Prior to entering into the agreement, the DA must offer victims an opportunity to discuss the consent decree. Conditions are similar to those for pre-petition deferrals and can last up to a year + a 6 month extension.

Statutory time limits for pre- & post-petition court diversions exist.

In Wisconsin, pre-petition court diversion agreements can last one year, and post-petition consent decrees can last for one year plus a 6 month extension.

Courtroom shackling, 2015

No statewide restriction

Competency, 2015

Wisconsin bases its legal authority on juvenile competency statutes, which align with the Dusky standard. Provisions apply to juveniles subject to delinquency or child in need of protection or services (CHIPS) proceedings. Procedural sections specify time frames, report requirements, hearing procedures, dispositions and review requirements.

  • No juvenile standard

  • Juvenile standard is the adult standard

  • Juvenile justice standard exists

  • JJ standard includes developmental immaturity

Sex offender registration, 2015


About this project

Juvenile Justice GPS (Geography, Policy, Practice, Statistics) is a project to develop a repository providing state policy makers and system stakeholders with a clear understanding of the juvenile justice landscape in the states.

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