Earn-It is a juvenile offender/victim restitution program operated by the City of Keene Youth Services. The program is for young offenders (ages 12 to 17) referred to the program by the Keene District Court and the Juvenile Diversion Program.
- In 1987, a clear need for innovative alternate programming within the Keene area juvenile justice system was recognized.
- Combined efforts of Juvenile Diversion Committee and Cheshire County Big Brother/Sister organization implemented the Earn-It Program in 1988.
- Earn-It is a program of the City of Keene Youth Services whose purpose is to strengthen community involvement in family and youth issues, create opportunities for positive community attachment for youth, and empower youth to make responsible decisions.
- The aim is to ensure juvenile offenders can be held accountable for their illegal actions.
- Provides guidance and lessons in personal responsibility to at-risk young offenders and they can actively make amends to their victims and community through their own constructive actions.
- Youth learn positive roles in the real work environment and better their decision-making in all aspects of their lives.
- Broader goal is prevention future delinquency and lessening the negative impact juvenile crime has on our community.
Earn-It provides a structured program based on holding young offenders accountable for their illegal behavior and expecting the young offender to “make it right”. It also provides a “missing link” assuring the Court the ability to hold juvenile offenders personally responsible for the criminal actions. Young offenders receive the message that their actions will have direct consequences. Earn-It provides an efficient, cost effective way of assisting young offenders to remain in the community with an appropriate amount of intervention and supervision, while the community benefits from reduces crime and costs.
- Serves youth who reside in the 18 Cheshire County towns and Keene within the Keene District Court jurisdiction.
- Youth who owe restitution and community service hours are referred to Earn-It to repay their victims and the community for their illegal actions.
- Victims of crimes include many businesses and individuals.
- Theft and burglary
- Criminal mischief/trespass
- Possession of illegal substances
- Offenders are placed in nonprofit agencies where they are able to “work off” their court orders.
- Earn-It staff works closely with the youth, their parents as well as youth service agencies and school personnel to provide a coordinated community based opportunity/
- Earn-It monitors the young person’s work, school and home performance.
What does community service and restitution mean?
- Community services means that you “pay back” the community for breaking the law, by doing volunteer (free) work.
- Restitution means you pay back money to your victim for the damage you committed
What are some possible work placements?
- Keene Family YMCA
- Community Centers
- Day Care Centers
Types of work you might expect to do at different worksites include: sweeping, washing dishes, child care, picking up trash, painting, cleaning areas, etc.
How is community service and restitution like a real job?
You are expected to:
- Have a good attitude and be polite
- Be clean and properly dressed
- Follow instructions, a work schedule, rules and cooperate with the worksite supervisor
- Work to the best of you ability
What happens if you don’t follow the Rules?
- Your supervisor will talk to you. If it is a minor rule you may be given a verbal warning
- A more serious problem, the worksite supervisor will notify the Earn-It Program Manager.
- Your Earn-It case may be returned to court or diversion for a stricter decision.