First Offender Program
In 1974, the Dallas Police Department's First Offender Program began assisting young people and their parents with problems that lead to future trouble and/or arrest. The First Offender Program is a voluntary, skill education program designed to divert juvenile first offenders from the justice system and reduce recidivism.
1. Program Goals
PREVENTION: to assist families of juveniles who have run away from home for the first time; who are exhibiting behavior problems at home, school or during free time; and connect them with community resources for counseling, etc.
INTERVENTION: to divert juvenile first offenders (Class A & B Misdemeanors, State Jail Felonies) from the juvenile justice system and to reduce repeat offenders.
2. Program Enrollment Criteria
Youth between 10 – 16 years of age
First offenders committing Class A & B misdemeanors as well as State Jail Felonies (except for offenses involving assaults or weapons).
Parental cooperation/agreement to participate in Program
3. Program Phases
INTAKE: caseworker meets with family to assess youth’s level of functioning at home, at school and during free time.
DIRECT: parent and youth attend six weekly group meetings.
*If juvenile successfully completes FOP and remains trouble-free for a 90-day period, the offense will be erased from their record (According to Texas Family Code Section 52.031).