County (Wisconsin) Officials Credit Restorative Justice Program for Drop in Crime by Kids |TODAY|
Submitted by dan. on 2007-12-07 21:57.
The alternative programs are starting to work. County employees are seeing fewer children go through the justice system and end up in cell blocks. "It hasn't been incredibly significant but it has made a difference,” Merriwether said. “I think they're seeing a very good response from that program from the community as well as the fact that those juveniles are not coming back."
More kids are keeping themselves out of trouble, at least in Marathon County where county workers say fewer kids are finding themselves in the juvenile justice system.
Social services has found it is often best to put delinquent youth in alternative programs.
For some kids, a little counseling can stop them from ever committing another crime. For others the threat of finding themselves in the courtroom can work, but for a few, there’s only one option.
"The juveniles who come through with more intense offenses and appear to be more at risk, those are the juveniles who are referred to formal court," said Becky Bogen, the delinquency supervisor for Marathon County Social Services.
Nonetheless, most county employees who work with juveniles strongly believe court isn’t the best option.
"A lot of times its hard to balance protection of the public with the fact the they are kids," said Marathon County Deputy District Attorney Theresa Merriwether.
And that’s why the district attorney’s office is so thankful for the Restorative Justice Program.
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