Juvenile Justice Initiative Program

Juvenile Justice Initiative Program

The Juvenile Justice Initiative Program uses a comprehensive approach that provides young people aged 12 to 17, particularly those of color, diversionary options to the formal justice system. This program is funded by the US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Through this program, youth in Rhode Island will have skills-based mentoring as an option for diversion rather than incarceration. MENTOR Rhode Island is working with community leaders, advocates, schools, police departments, Rhode Island Family Court, Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF), and the Juvenile Hearing Boards to offer mentoring services that include community engagement, job-related skills training, educational support, and social and emotional mentoring.


Youth of Color are disproportionately referred to the Family Court compared to their representation in the youth population.
In 2022, 24% of referred offenses involved Black youth who make up only 6% of the child population in RI.¹

Research shows that incarcerating youth is costly and leads to worse public safety outcomes and higher recidivism rates than community-based alternatives.²


We receive referrals from police, judges, hearing boards, parole officers, school personnel, family members, or others who encounter a young person at risk of entering the formal juvenile justice system.

Along with our community partners, Nonviolence Institute, Youth In Action, and Foster Forward, we connect youth to the resources they need. We provide group mentoring and case management. We also help youth access leadership and job training, counseling, education on conflict resolution, the principles and practices of nonviolence, and more.

MENTOR Rhode Island provides each young person with an individualized plan using diversionary services available through this initiative.

Mentor’s Commitment:
Four hours per month

What We Need From You:

• Completed Mentor Application
• Pass required screening process (Includes State background checks)
• Attend 2-hour training session
• Initial commitment is for one year (Ideally, we’d love the mentoring to continue for many years to come!)

Become a Mentor!

If you would like to become a mentor for the Juvenile Justice Initiative Program please contact Director of Access, Innovation, & Equity, Marisol Feliciano, at 401-732-7700 or email MFeliciano@MentorRI.org.

In partnership with:

¹Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, Rhode Island Children’s Information System (RICHIST), 2008-2022.

²McCarthy, P., Schiraldi, V. and Shark, M.. (2016). The future of youth justice: A community-based alternative to the youth prison model. new thinking in community corrections bulletin. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. NCJ 250142.