Volunteer Community Accountability Board (CAB)
A Community Accountability Board (CAB) is a group of volunteer community residents who meet with youth referred for Diversion. The boards determine the reasonable requirements that the community can expect of the offender. These requirements may include community service, restitution, fees, counseling, or information/educational sessions. It is hoped that through the board process, citizens from the youth's community can impress upon the youth the connection between his/her behavior and the effects on him/herself and the community. Consequently, the board can serve as a positive influence on the youth's future behavior.
The Accountability Board has the responsibility of determining how much and what kind of consequences are appropriate to the offense. This is accomplished by questioning the youth about the incident itself and any relevant issues that may pertain to the incident.
The number of times you will be requested to sit on Board hearings depends on the number of referrals received by the Diversion Unit. Out of the Board member pool, only three members are needed to make up a Board to hear cases on any given evening. The Diversion Unit schedules Board members on monthly calendars. Members are asked to notify the Diversion Unit of any conflict on the scheduled dates. Hearings generally take thirty to forty-five minutes and up to two cases are scheduled per evening. New volunteers come to Board meetings as observers until they feel comfortable serving as an active member.
The Juvenile Diversion Unit requests that each new member commit at least a year (12 months) to the program. The reason for this is to ensure that the staff does not have to be constantly screening and training new members. In addition, the Boards will run much more smoothly if the Board members are familiar with each other and have had some experience. This does not mean that after a year you may no longer be a Board member, but that you will commit yourself to the program for at least that period of time.
One of the most important aspects of Diversion, and the major concern of both the parents and the youth, is confidentiality. An Oath of Confidentiality must be signed by Board members prior to each hearing. It is extremely important that Accountability Board members do not discuss cases outside of the Diversion office. A breach of confidentiality could result in a lawsuit and would be grounds for dismissal from the Accountability Board.
In addition, all Board members are required to fill out and sign a Clallam County Sheriff's Department background check form.
Benefits of the Board Process
Community members become active participants in holding young people accountable for criminal activity in their community. Members also gain insight into the problems of youthful offenders as well as the workings of the juvenile justice system. In addition, the juvenile offender is made aware of the direct relationship between the crime and the people affected by it (i.e., the community).