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Children’s advocate responds to demise of Juvenile Justice Department

Posted By Rob Schofield On September 11, 2013 @ 3:47 pm In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

This was just released by the good folks at the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children [1]:

For Immediate Release                                                                                                 

Juvenile Justice consolidation could have negative consequences for youth

RALEIGH – On Tuesday, 9/10, the Department of Public Safety announced the consolidation of the Divisions of Juvenile Justice and Adult Corrections into a single division, raising questions about the Department’s ability to focus on the unique needs of youth.

“Preventing juvenile crime and rehabilitating youthful offenders demand a different model than adult corrections,” stated Rob Thompson, executive director of the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children. “We are concerned that the new structure will lead to a decreased emphasis on youth-focused programming.”

Between 2000 and 2011, there was a cabinet-level Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention that was extremely effective at reducing juvenile crime. During that time period, the juvenile crime rate dropped by 27%. In 2011, Governor Perdue, with legislative approval, consolidated the Department of Juvenile Justice with two other departments to create the Department of Public Safety.

In his letter to counties announcing the most recent consolidation, Corrections Commissioner David Guice acknowledged the need to continue to provide youth-specific programs, but concerns remain that the new structure could undermine good intentions.

“Organizational structure is very important. Two years ago, the head of juvenile justice was one-step removed from the Governor and had an independent budget dedicated to youth programs. Now, the juvenile justice budget is wrapped up in the behemoth of adult corrections and there is no longer a division head focused exclusively on youth,” said Thompson.

 


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[1] Covenant with North Carolina’s Children: http://www.nccovenant.org/

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