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Should Cuyahoga County Use Dayton as a Model for Reducing Juvenile Crime?

November 22, 2018 | Written by Dan Margolis

Montgomery County has taken a different approach in helping juvenile offenders, and Cuyahoga County has taken notice. The current processes in Cuyahoga County are not as effective as everyone would like and many within Cuyahoga County’s legal community believe it is time to change the system’s approach. Meanwhile, Montgomery County has seen success with its Juvenile Court Intervention Center.

If you need to speak to a juvenile defense lawyer in Cuyahoga County, contact The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC at (216) 533-9533. We offer free consultations and are here to find the best possible result for your son or daughter.

The Benefits of the Juvenile Court Intervention Center

Within hours of an adolescent’s arrest, they are assessed at the Intervention Center. The purpose of this is to determine if the youth is struggling with a mental health issue, substance abuse, school issues, or problems at home.

This assessment takes about four hours, and the assessors will determine if a youth’s case should continue through the courts or handled through diversion programs, such as mediation, treatment, and counseling. Low-level offenses typically lead to a juvenile being released to their parents or guardians and resolved through diversion programs. High-level and violent offenses are likely to go through the juvenile court system and may require detention. The assessors also determine if the youth is a danger to themselves, others, or a flight risk. This influences whether they are detained, released to their parents or guardians, or would benefit from some other alternative.

The intervention center then uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to get the adolescents the help they need to avoid juvenile detention. This is particularly important when the youth was not involved in violent crime. It may require an adolescent within the juvenile justice system to participate in beneficial classes. The youths may also need to go to one-on-one therapy sessions and group therapy sessions. Adolescents over the age of 10 might go to anger management and theft prevention classes. Children under 10 may attend therapy and classes that teach them skills to express themselves.

Differences in Cuyahoga County

Right now, Cuyahoga County has few immediate intervention services it can offer juveniles and their families. In certain situations, a youth may be eligible for immediate foster care placement to remove them form a dangerous or unhealthy living situation. However, this is not appropriate in many situations, leaving most adolescents waiting on resources until their case is adjudicated. This can take weeks or months for their cases to be resolved, which means they do not receive help for a significant period– where they may be detained.

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley wants to see youths receive services right away – not months later. His point is that it is far less effective to intervene three or four months after an incident. When a teen gets into trouble, the consequences need to be immediate.

A lack of direct intervention also ignores the fact that most adolescents arrested for a crime or delinquent behavior experienced a traumatic event before the arrest. Without immediate resources, the youth is left to deal with the physical and emotional consequences of that traumatic event and their juvenile court case alone. Or, worse yet, these youths are placed in a detention center, which can compound the trauma.

Early Intervention Keeps Adolescents Out of Detention

Dayton and the surrounding suburbs have found that early intervention reduces the number of juveniles sentenced to detainment. Between 2009 and 2017, the county witnessed a 54 percent drop in detention center admissions. In 2009, only 19 percent of juveniles who went through the Intervention Center were released to alternatives, such as foster care, group homes, and electronic home monitoring. In 2017, 56 percent of juveniles were released to alternatives.

Avoiding detention should always be the goal. Youths who are detained are more likely to re-offend. They are less likely to finish high school and find employment compared to juveniles who are released to an alternative. Also, sending fewer juveniles to detention centers saves a significant amount of money.

Is Your Child in Trouble With the Law?

If your minor son or daughter has been arrested in Cuyahoga County, the best thing you can do for them is to hire an experienced juvenile defense attorney. The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC is here to help. We will defend your child’s rights and fight for them to avoid detention. We will do everything we can within the law to help them avoid harsh penalties and instead, to receive the services they need to succeed.

Contact us today online or call (216) 533-9533 to schedule a consultation.

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