Pierce County Peacemaking Academy

Diversion Program and Initiatives

Pierce County, Tacoma WA USA

The Pierce County Juvenile Probation Department is nationally known for its innovative work.  The Annie E. Casey Foundation has highlighted them as taking “bold strides to revamp its approach to juve­nile pro­ba­tion.”

In the efforts to sustain the work of innovation and change, Kevin Williams, Pierce County Probation Manager, understands that as a government agency, it is important to share power, empower community, and together, be a part of the solution to the problems in which we’ve all contributed to.

System Reform

Co-designing a collaborative youth diversion program.

After engaging in two years of culture transformation work to build an internal culture that embraces change and innovation with PointOneNorth Consulting LLC, Kevin and his Probation department worked in partnership with PointOneNorth to host several trainings in efforts to engage community and begin partnering to co-design an innovative diversion program.  The partnership piloted our first cohort in July 2022 and in September 2023, Pierce County Juvenile Probation partnered with the Peacemaking Institute to continue refining and developing the Peacemaking Academy.

Our hope is to continue to create and expand this partnership with both system and community so we can scale healing and trust across Pierce County.

Pierce County Peacemaking Academy Youth Diversion Program

Cultivating peace. Inspiring change.

Transforming criminal justice with community engagement

Peacemaking Academy Diversion Program

Young people referred to our program by the Probation Department will go through a vetting process to see if individual participants meet the program criteria and are suitable for Peacemaking Circle Process.  There are two tiers to our program engagement:

I. The Peacemaking Academy Curriculum

Young people will undergo the Peacemaking Academy curriculum that utilizes Peacemaking Circle Process designed to create a safe, healthy environment to support vulnerability and address the contributing factors of their wrongful behavior.  Below are themes we will be focusing on:

  • Addressing underlying root causes and help young people break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
  • Promoting healing, leadership, and personal development.
  • Repairing harm and accountability.

II. Support Structure & Follow Up

Young people will be paired up with a Mentor/Street Outreach Worker staff member who will work with youth participants throughout the duration of the program.  We also host monthly community circles to engage system, community, and families together, creating a community of care to support young people and families in their healing journey.  Below, are themes we will be focusing on:

  • Creating an environment for trauma-informed work.
  • Youth & adult partnership for transformational relationship building.
  • Supporting and building healthy families.