Commonwealth Looking at Juvenile Justice Reform

Reported by: Ian Preston
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Updated: 9/25/2013 6:20 pm
State lawmakers say they want to lower the number of juveniles that the State locks up every year.

State Senator Whitney Westerfield says many of the state's juvenile inmates are in for committing offenses that are not even crimes for adults, offenses like skipping school or running away from home.

According to the Department of Juvenile Justice, of the 86 percent of juvenile prisoners serving time for public offenses, more than half the inmates are serving time for low-priority crimes.

State leaders say it costs tax payers more than 27-thousand dollars a year to keep a juvenile locked up.

Leaders like Westerfield say they're looking into creating more 'diversion' programs for kids and parents, like many of the programs created in House Bill 463, which help non-violent offenders stay out of jail.

Westerfield says the State Legislature will look into juvenile justice reform during their next legislative session in January.
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