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Program to Help Keep Juveniles Out of Trouble May Be Sacked

Posted January 28, 2008

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— A program designed to keep teenagers out of trouble may be history. The state recently cut nearly $23 million dollars in funding for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.

"When you break the law, there are consequences. That's what this program is about,” convicted murderer Nicole Kilpatrick told a group of teens to whom she spoke Monday.

Kilpatrick knows about making bad choices as a teen.

"For most of your lives, I have been incarcerated," she said.

Kilpatrick is serving a life sentence for murder. She is one of the convicts who talks to troubled teenagers about making better choices.

"I came to prison two months after my 18 birthday. I thought it couldn't happen. I thought I couldn't get caught," she said.

The state pays for the juvenile diversion program, but lawmakers are considering cutting funding to it and other programs like it.

"These programs are one of the best buys you can find in this state," said George Sweat, secretary of the state's Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Juvenile justice officials said taxpayers will end up paying now or later. A program like juvenile diversion costs about $1,000 per youth. The cost to lock up an offender is more than $95,000 a year.

The Department of Juvenile Justice is getting reading to launch a campaign it hopes will secure funding for the juvenile diversion program.

Officials said 56 percent of the juveniles who go through it never get in trouble again.

"I know we all make mistakes. I just pray to God that he makes the right choices,” parent Shontrell Clyburn said.

Clyburn's 13-year-old son was ordered to attend the program after getting into a fight at school. All of the teens involved in the brawl are facing misdemeanors. Clyburn hopes it is her son's first and last offense.

The Juvenile Crime Prevention Council operates 600 programs in all 100 counties.

The state asked the department to put together a report on the programs to help determine future funding needs.

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  • whatusay Jan 29, 2008

    wcnc...what it says is 100% of those in the program are on the border of being repeat criminals and "44%" of those that go thru the program end up as repeat criminals. This is close to the national average of all criminals who do not get this expensive experience.

  • casp3r Jan 29, 2008

    "It told women they didn't need a man.....children didn't need fathers.." = So this is why so many children are born without fathers? Of course It would not be because of the government housing and feeding these people.

  • wcnc Jan 29, 2008

    "The downfall to Western Civilization will be tied to the importation of slaves and society's guilt in continually trying to make resitution for that transgression, to a culture incapable of handling responsibility."

    WHAT??!! I tie the "downfall" of society to feminism and women's lib, who has done MORE to hurt women and children than it ever did to help. It told women they didn't need a man.....children didn't need fathers......and babies can be "choiced" away (murdered) with no consequence. All lies, but women bought it and look where we are today!!! Paying taxes to raise fatherless children......

  • wcnc Jan 29, 2008

    "Officials said 56 percent of the juveniles who go through it never get in trouble again."

    I just don't think I buy that statement......why do I feel like juvenile crime has gone up....or that crime seems to be going up?? If crime IS (and I don't know IF it is, or if it just FEELS like it is!!) going up, how cna that statistic be right??

    I just think it's a LOT of money, once again being used on the same people who get welfare checks and countless amounts of my tax dollars.....I think the whole welfare and criminal justice systems together need to be looked at and overhauled to adequately address both problems....

  • Rocknhorse Jan 29, 2008

    I would like to learn more about this program. I would love to see something that would address at-risk teens and guide them in the right direction. Sure, we can all sit here and point fingers and lay blame on parents, but it's obvious that those parents will not change (nor does the government want them to change) and these kids WILL end up somewhere. If we can catch them before they end up on the wrong side, then I say that money saved in the long run.

    I don't know the answer. I'm not familiar with this program, but I'm willing to give it a look. If funding is the problem, I'm sure there's a ton of waste in other departments from which money can be pulled.

  • dukebbfan Jan 29, 2008

    Reform schools need to be brought back. Let the kids know that there will be consquences to there action so that the teachers can teach the kids who are there to learn.
    There are some parents that try to raise there kids to have respect for thereself and others but they just dont turn out right no matter what but there is a big majority of parents who dont care and they dont teach there kids anything other than how to work the system and cry mistreatment is something doesnt go there way.

  • Mr. Keeping It Real Jan 29, 2008

    Lawmakers, here's a thought: how about taking that surplus we hear about every year and put it to good use by keeping these programs running that truly benefit our kids!

  • onyourheels2 Jan 29, 2008

    but then they would have bused me to another school.

  • onyourheels2 Jan 29, 2008

    if i took a test and made 56 on it i would have failed it. enough said.

  • kre2208 Jan 29, 2008

    I am so sick of hearing about when a kid does something wrong that it is the parents fault. With todays environment, there is only so much that a parent can do. You teach them right from wrong and you pray for the rest. You always hear the kids today have it much harder growing up then we did. Well, what about parents today trying to raise them. You can not take them to the "woodshed" without worrying about the kid filing assault charges. You can not lock them in their room. A "time out" doesn't work after a certain age.

    So, instead of saying that they are "bad" parents...say how you would handle the situation (legally). You may be the best parent in the world..that is until they gather in school.

    Place the blame where it belongs...the kid.

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