Wed, April 01

Juvenile crime panel needs people <br>who want to make a difference

If you’re looking for New Year’s challenge that advances resolutions from the category of wish list to commitment, the Yavapai County Community Juvenile Justice Committee may have a program of interest to you.

The committee currently is recruiting volunteers to serve on its juvenile justice panels.

The committee meets twice a month with first-time juvenile offenders and their parents to cooperatively devise a course of action to ensure the young man or woman makes this his last visit with the criminal justice system.

Because the committee is weighted with citizen volunteers vs. officials from the juvenile justice system, the punishments meted out by this group can be as innovative and diverse as the people who serve on the panel.

They do not have the authority to order detention time. They can opt for traditional types of punishment such as community service, restitution, fines and counseling. Or they can devise a plan with the kid’s parents that is as unique as the individual or his crime. Examples include research papers on the cost of shoplifting; one youth caught stealing a skateboard was ordered to clean up the community’s skateboard park.

One or more members of the committee monitor the youth’s progress during the assigned program. A followup meeting with the juvenile and parents is required once the offender has completed the course of action directed by the panel.

And, the kid is given stern warning that if there is a next time … he or she is not getting off nearly so easy.

If you’ve ever voiced an opinion about what needs to be done about juvenile crime in today’s society, here is the chance to do something about it.

To volunteer, call program coordinator Paris Manfredonia at 520-771-3156.

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