Young Adult Court
The Douglas County Young Adult Court is a judicially supervised program that provides a sentencing alternative for youthful offenders up to age 25 who are charged with a felony to participate in a program of selective assessment and rehabilitative services administered by multidisciplinary agencies. Judge Shelly R. Stratman presides over the program.
In addition to Judge Stratman, the Young Adult Court is staffed by Nebraska State Probation Officer/Young Adult Court Coordinator Bob Blanchard, Problem Solving Court Officer Keirna Ostwald, Douglas County Attorney Katie Benson and Douglas County Corrections Reentry Assistance Program staff.
Potential candidates for YAC are identified by their defense attorney who requests the County Attorney to review the case for possible screening by the YAC Team. If the County Attorney believes that the individual is a potential candidate, the defense attorney is notified and is asked to have the offender contact the YAC Coordinator for an interview. A Level of Service, Case Management Inventory (LS/CMI) interview is conducted and scored. A suitability report is then submitted by the YAC Coordinator to County Attorney Donald Kleine for approval or disapproval.
If the potential candidate is approved for YAC the first requirement for entrance into the Young Adult Court is that the offender must appear before Judge Stratman and enter a plea of guilty to their felony charge or charges. Judge Stratman then places the offender in the three phase program which includes the following key components:
Phase I - STABILIZATION - 60 to 180 days involving Reentry Assistance Program and Day Reporting Center classes such as Pre-Treatment, Reactive Behavior, Job Readiness and Reasoning and Rehabilitation. Chemical dependency evaluations, mental health screenings and counseling can also begin in this phase. Those needing a GED may start this process in Phase I. Douglas County Correction assists with a House Arrest option.
Phase II - TRANSITION – 120 to 240 days may involve participation in self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Participants will attend MRT classes, further their education, become employed, and may seek transitional living such as ¾ or ½ way houses. Victim offender mediation is an important piece of this phase.
Phase III - PROBATION - 12 to 24 months begins with the felony conviction withdrawn and reduced to a class I misdemeanor. Upon completion of Phase III a Graduation Ceremony is held and the individual is awarded a certificate of completion along with an order signed by Judge Stratman satisfactorily releasing them from probation.