Juvenile delinquency is a serious problem in Ohio. Not only because the law should protect society from all offenders, but convicted minors face serious issues in the future when they want to seek education and employment. The genuine fear is that a juvenile system that fails to rehabilitate or one that is in the habit of putting children behind bars for non-violent crimes can create more societal problems in the future.
So what is that state of the juvenile justice system in Ohio? What do you need to know as a taxpayer about a system that is supposed to punish appropriately and rehabilitate our youths so that
they can move on to be contributing members of society?
Is the System Working
A recent study reveals that both juvenile offenders and taxpayers are unaware of what is happening in the system. Taxpayers are in the dark as to how efficient the system is running with the
hundreds of millions that are being pumped into it annually. On the other side parents and offenders are ignorant to the number sentencing alternatives available that will help to reform instead of creating lifelong criminals.
An example of a recent case is an insight of some of the problems with the system. A 16-year old child was facing charges relating to a prank that involves the pulling down of another student’s pants. The consequences facing the teen included sexual misconduct which could have resulted in two years behind bars and possibly being labeled as a sex offender. Luckily enough this juvenile was able to access an intervention program that that was an alternative to detention and gave the minor the chance of a future without being labeled a sex offender.
The problem is how popular are such intervention program and how many of our juveniles are gaining access to this alternative? We could answer these questions with statistics, but such data is lacking. The Juvenile Justice Coalition reveal that there is no real way of knowing whether juveniles know of such alternative programs. Even more disturbing, there is no data to show whether or not these programs are even working at all.
What is the Concern?
Some 5000 children commit felonies annually, but there are more than 90,000 cases in the juvenile justice system for which there is no or limited data. Each of the 88 counties in Ohio has systems that are best described as “patchwork” with no centralized way of tracking information.
Statewide data, on the other hand, display alarming information. Racial disparity is a general concern with 87% of the young people in prison are black youths. The statistics are alarming since black youth only represent 18% of the population. However, the ability to identify reasons for this disparity is hampered by the availability of reliable information.
There is clearly need for changes. This shift will have to start with collecting data that is critical to making decisions that are best for our youths.
Is Your Child or Family Member Facing Criminal Charges? Call Attorney Brad Groene
If your child or family member is facing criminal charges, it can be a very confusing and stressful time. It is important to hire a lawyer to help you navigate a very complicated justice system and help your loved one fight those charges. Call criminal defense attorney Brad Groene today at (513) 338-1890 to discuss your case.