Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, District Attorney Scott McNamara, Sheriff Rob Maciol, the City of Utica and the Utica City School District have signed a Youth Arrest Diversion Agreement.

The purpose of the County-wide diversion program is to provide services and assistance to juveniles who are charged with a crime before those juveniles enter the Criminal Justice System

County Executive Anthony Picente says the initiative is an unprecedented step to reform juvenile justice in Oneida County.

He says a pilot diversion program only in Utica Schools has a 92 percent success rate

Picente says he hopes the program can be a model for the rest of New York state.

Oneida County Family Court Judge Randal Caldwell said, “This is a vital step for family court and our community by diverting children who may commit low level, non-violent offences from being arrested and entering a system in which many struggle to get out of.”