CUMBERLAND COUNTY — A program in Cumberland County is giving money back to crime victims, and teaching kids who break the law a valuable lesson. The juvenile restitution program pays offenders $5 an hour for tough manual labor. The victims eventually receive the money, but the offenders also benefit.
Michael is fourteen years old. He was put in the juvenile restitution program after he was convicted of burglarizing two homes. He's working 100 hours raking, mowing and scrubbing floors.
"I'm happy that they set it up because I didn't want my mom or dad to pay for it," Michael said. "They didn't do anything. It was kind of like a responsibility, a job, so you can pay it back yourself." Mike says he's learned his lesson.
Fayetteville Police Lt. Gene Hallock explains the program's focus. "What we concentrate on is trying to get these young folks to fill out job applications. It teaches them how to dress, how to act, how to talk, so when they approach a business, and ask for a job they are acting accordingly."
Jackie Wilson knows about the payoff first-hand. She received a $100 check, through the program. The money is being used for her daughter's cosmetic surgery. Wilson's daughter was attacked at school, and her attacker worked to pay them back.
Wilson said, "I never knew money was coming back. I was just trying to show my daughter another way of pressing charges instead of retaliating with violence."
Authorities hope to offer the program for years to come.