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|Recidivism, Public Safety & Juvenile Justice: Let the Facts Guide|
|Written by Malachi Garza|
|Monday, 08 March 2010 11:53|
A recent story broadcast on Omaha television highlighting the heartbreaking death of a juvenile justice system-involved 15-year-old illustrates the complexities of the reform needed within system.
Kleine said the opportunity to turn someone in the right direction at an early age is key: "We have had some homicides recently that were committed by 14, 15, 16, 17 year-olds, that maybe had a history in juvenile court and obviously they didn't get what they needed."
Community-run diversion and alternative to detention programs garner the results our communities need. San Francisco’s Detention Diversion Advocacy Program has resulted in half the recidivism rate of juveniles referred to detention or funneled elsewhere through the juvenile justice system.
Programs like BronxConnect a faith-based, community-based alternative-to-incarceration program focuses around mentoring services for Bronx court-involved youth to prevent recidivism and address youth-initiated goals in areas such as education and employment. Since partnering with the courts in 2000, BronxConnect has achieved a better than 75 percent success in rate in keeping court-involved youth from returning to the system.
Outcomes like these provide tangible examples of what is possible and what young people from all backgrounds deserve. If the overall aim of the juvenile justice system is to effectively increase public safety and rehabilitate troubled youth, then the use of cost-effective community-based alternatives must begin to trump the use of secure detention.