Every year, there are more than one million youth arrests across the United States. Approximately 95 percent of those arrests are for some type of non-violent offense. More students are being arrested for police officers working in schools due to behaviors that the school used to handle as a routine discipline problem, such as arguing in the hall, chewing gum and throwing erasers.
The majority of youth arrests are for a low-level misdemeanor, and in some cases, the youth is released without being prosecuted due to the trivial nature of the arrest in the first place. However, the child arrested gets a juvenile record as soon as the arrest is made, and this is a record that can follow them into adulthood – even if they are never found guilty of the crime.
How to Curb Arrests and Keep Students Out of the Juvenile Justice System
It is important to keep students out of the juvenile justice system, which will curb the school-to-prison pipeline, ensuring the child is able to get their life back on track. A diversion program is one of the best ways to keep youth out of the system, and the program is most effective when the child is diverted before being arrested.
In the past few years, there are several jurisdictions that have created these types of diversion programs to help youth, rather than arrest them. These types of programs can help to reduce the impact of a youth arrest, and prevent them from entering the juvenile justice system.
Youth Diversion Program to Prevent Arrests in Miami-Dade County
While there are programs throughout the U.S., there is one in Miami-Dade County currently. The county instituted a civil citation program, which allows the police officers to cite a youth for a minor offense, instead of arresting them. This program makes it necessary for the youth to pay restitution or complete community service, while providing them with educational and vocational support, substance abuse treatment and mental health services, if needed.
The supports of the program have reported that it has helped reduce the occurrence of second-offences and led to significant savings for tax payers. This is because the formal juvenile processing doesn’t have to occur.
Hiring an Attorney for Juvenile Arrests
If you have a child who has been arrested and charged with a crime, you may need to begin looking into diversion programs. While there are a number that are designed to help prevent arrests, there are also ones that can help after an arrest is made. The best way to know what options are available is to hire a juvenile law attorney. They can review the situation and ensure that your child gets every chance to avoid having a juvenile record.
If there is currently no diversion program in your area, you can opt to have an attorney review the situation and help petition the county to create one. In the long run, these diversion programs will be beneficial to everyone, including the youth, parents and taxpayers.
More information about juvenile law issues can be found by contacting the attorneys at The Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson by calling (321) 253-3771. Having the help of an attorney can be invaluable when dealing with juvenile law issues and trying to find adequate diversion programs.