“One of the things that we’re going to help the regional teams do is to look at what’s working in areas of the state; best practices.”
The teams will examine the kind of community-based programs from which juveniles could benefit if their cases were to be diverted after arrest.
“This opening the door to communication is a really big first step,” said Clinton County Probation Director Dave Marcoux said. “I think a lot of ideas will come out of the work of the project.”
In 2012, 73 juveniles were arrested in Clinton County; 42 in Essex and 155 in Franklin, according to data compiled by the Department of Criminal Justice Services.
Of those, four Clinton County and five Franklin County children were put in juvenile detention centers; none were from Essex County.
There are different paths a young person’s case may take following his or her arrest, Marcoux said.
If the crime is a “designated felony,” the case will be put in the hands of the district attorney’s office.
“They look at the case, and they determine whether or not there’s enough evidence to bring it forward to the court,” he said.
60 DAYS TO HELP
For lesser offenses, police will issue the youths a court appearance ticket, and a senior probation officer will evaluate the juveniles and determine any possible risk they could be to the public, as well as the children’s needs.
The Department of Probation is initially granted 60 days to help the children.
“We monitor how they’re doing in school. We meet with the parents and see how they’re doing at home,” Marcoux said.
“If everything goes perfectly in those 60 days ... we can actually adjust the case and close it.”
If not, the Probation Department may be granted more time to work with the children.