Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office
Pre-Trial Intervention (PRI) Program
Pre-Trial Intervention, also called PTI, is just as the name implies—It is intervening into a case before it comes to Court. This system allows the defendant to be diverted from conviction, enter a program of restitution, counseling and guidance, and return to society without the bad mark of a criminal record. Only defendants who do not present a threat to society, have no significant prior criminal history, and involve non-violent crimes are allowed this one time "second chance". In cases where it is appropriate to compensate victims for their losses, restitution is required from the defendant before he or she can complete the diversion program. PTI is a self-supporting agency under the control and supervision of the Solicitor's Office, and is supported through cooperation of judicial, law enforcement and community service agencies. The Aiken Center provides alcohol and drug treatment services to PTI participants.
Alcohol/Drug Education Program (AEP)
This education program is designed for youth referred to Aiken Center by criminal or juvenile justice system, who have been arrested for high-risk alcohol and other drug use. These charged include: Under age Possession of Alcohol and Possessing an Altered or Invalid Driver’s License or Identification Card. The Aiken Center provides groups that meet twice weekly for two weeks. During the four two hour sessions the participants are given the opportunity to learn how to prevent future alcohol and drug problems and protect the things that are most important to them in their lives.
Alcohol Intervention Program (AIP)
This educational program is designed for persons aged 17- 20 who have been charged with unlawful purchase, consumption or possession of beer, ale, porter, wine, or some other similar malt or fermented beverage for the third time. A screening tool is administered and the client is placed in the Motivation Enhancement Therapy/Cognitive Behavioral Therpy-5 service. After completion of this service, the last session will be an exit conference and should include parents. This conference will acknowledge the completion of services, but will also inform the family if further services are recommended.
South Carolina Department of Social Services
The Aiken County Office of the South Carolina Department of Social Services provides Child Protective and Preventive Services, which are mandated by law to protect children from abuse or neglect within their families, in foster care, or by persons responsible for the child's welfare as defined by statute. Services are provided to strengthen families; to enable children to remain safe in the home; to temporarily remove from parental custody a child who is at imminent risk of harm; or to pursue termination of parental rights and assure the child permanency in a substitute family if the custodial family cannot be preserved without serious risk to the child. Child protective services as provided by DSS involve coordination of services provided by many state agencies and community organizations. These services are identified with the family and in collaboration with the service providers in an effort to meet the families’ specific needs. DSS caseworkers assess reports of child abuse/neglect to determine the validity of the allegation and to determine the type of intervention necessary to protect the child from further harm. This includes determining whether the child is "at risk" of being abused or neglected in the future and identifying the family's need for support services. The Aiken Center provides services to families that are identified as having alcohol and drug abuse related issues that threaten the welfare of their children.
South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (DJJ)
Juveniles usually enter the juvenile justice system in South Carolina when they're taken into custody by law enforcement or when they're referred to DJJ by a Circuit Solicitor or a school. At this stage, a juvenile is usually interviewed by personnel at the Aiken County DJJ Office. Law enforcement might also elect to send the juvenile to a South Carolina juvenile detention center, pending a hearing. After the county office personnel have interviewed a juvenile, DJJ makes recommendations to the Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office regarding the case. The Solicitor has a number of options available when deciding how to pursue a case. A Solicitor may choose to divert a juvenile to a community program such as the Aiken Center or require the juvenile to make restitution for the offense. Solicitors may also choose to proceed with prosecution or to dismiss a case entirely. If a Solicitor chooses to prosecute, the next stage of the process involves the Aiken County Family Court. A family court judge is charged with determining the guilt or innocence of a juvenile and with sentencing those juveniles “adjudicated delinquent” (found guilty). Often a judge will request a DJJ evaluation of the child before making his final ruling, or prior to commitment. This involves psychological, social, and educational evaluations conducted either in the community or at one of DJJ's three regional evaluation centers. This evaluation helps the judge decide how to proceed in the best interests of the child. A family court judge may find the juvenile “not delinquent” (not guilty) or “delinquent” (guilty). If found delinquent, the juvenile may be put on probation or committed to a DJJ facility. DJJ also collaborates with the Juvenile Drug Court that functions under the Second Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office.