ReThinking Drinking

The ReThinking Drinking Program addresses underage drinking through a combination of restorative justice and alcohol education. Youth are referred to the program by juvenile courts, attorneys, or law enforcement when they are encountered in violation of alcohol offenses. Parental involvement is also required, so youth and parent(s) must attend a strengths-based, four-hour, two-session workshop in which they discuss the alcohol incident focusing on accountability, decision-making, identifying harms and impacts, and ways to repair the harm(s) that were caused by the youth's choices regarding alcohol. At the conclusion of the sessions, each youth participant establishes an agreement to complete three to five items that will repair the harm of their offense. Successful completion is dependent on each participant's compliance and completion of all program requirements. Each participant is required to meet with the program coordinator within forty-five days of the workshop for an exit interview. For most referring authorities, if a youth successfully completes all workshop and program requirements within the designated timeframe, the case is closed and the no further court involvement is required. However, if a youth is referred a subsequent time after successfully completing the program, they are considered ineligible for program participation, and the case is referred to the appropriate court system.