Reversing the Trend of Juvenile Crime

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The problem of juvenile crime is not a new one, but one district attorney in south Georgia says one of the first steps in preventing juvenile crime is by preventing continued school absenteeism through meetings between students, parents and social workers.

J. David Miller, Lowndes District Attorney, says, "The purpose of the conferences is to find out why the kids are missing school. A lot of time we get to the root of a problem and help make arrangements to help them solve the problem. If we can keep them in school and educated and they can get out and get a job and become productive members of society, that means they're not standing in our court rooms, being prosecuted for crimes because they don't have an education or a job."

Local judges say if people want to keep kids out of court rooms, the real change must start at the home.

O. Wayne Ellerbee, a juvenile court judge, says, "It's not the court's job nor the community's job to keep juvenile offenders from coming back, it's the parents' job and what we're seeing is that we have totally inadequate parents."

Take the current parenting situation and factor in a reduction in state funding for juvenile programs, and attorneys and judges say it could be difficult to see any real changes in the amount of juvenile crime in the future.