The Minneapolis area has a wide variety of juvenile offenders. Teens and even younger children are involved in drug crimes, assaults, gun-related offenses and robberies — among various other crimes. If they were adults, these offenses would land them behind bars for quite some time if convicted. One county in the area is trying a different approach to how juvenile offenders are treated. They are utilizing a youth diversion program to keep young offenders out of detention centers, but some individuals are conflicted as to whether this is a good or bad thing.
The program is similar to diversion programs offered to certain adult offenders. It requires the youth to participate in community support and rehabilitation programs. It grants them the help they need to move forward and hopefully lead more productive lives, and it keeps court cases and detention center populations down.
Some for and some against the program
Some relatives of the offenders, as well as the county sheriff’s office, are not big fans of the initiative. They believe it just puts kids back on the streets to keep repeating the same behaviors. The county attorney’s office and a local criminal justice professor disagree. They believe it will work given time and cooperation from all departments involved in juvenile cases.
Good from a criminal defense standpoint
A youth diversion program is good from a criminal defense standpoint. Many minors will benefit from rehabilitation rather than punishment. Juvenile offenders in Ramsey County who would like to be considered for the diversion program can turn to legal counsel for assistance addressing the panel that makes the final decision on the matter. If one’s case is rejected, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help one navigate the juvenile court system and fight for the best outcome possible.