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Johnston County Program Cuts Future Crime by Cutting Grass

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SMITHFIELD — Johnston County law enforcement officers are taking an innovative approach to cut down on juvenile crime. The county's restitution program is not only helping rehabilitate young offenders, some other people are growing as well.

The rehabilitation program for juvenile offenders is cutting future crime while clipping the grass.

"We're getting their attitude on the right track, so they never end up in a courtroom again -- that is what it is all about," said Johnston County sheriff Steve Bizzel.

The kids earn money from yard work, which then goes into a restitution fund.

"We provide this program so the kids can pay their victims back, and it teaches them a good positive work ethic," says program director Gary Snow, "I try to be a positive male role model to the kids."

Snow was just a kid himself in college when he knew he wanted to turn juvenile offenders in the right direction.

Thursday, the group helped Grace Barbour with her yard work. "There comes a time in life when age slows you down," she said.

Grace's son Dean, one of five children, also appreciates the hard work of the kids.

"There were four boys and one girl in the family, and we have pretty much wore her out," he said.

Even though the kids in the program committed crimes to be there, Grace still loves them like a mother.

"Well, you deserve to be spoiled, as hard as you work," Grace said as she brought fudge and drinks to the kids.

The lawn care restitution program has been in place for about three months.

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Lynn French, Reporter
Lynn French, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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