(Des Moines) - Iowa is one of several states, chosen by the U.S. Department of Justice, to review the way juveniles offenders are handled in the legal system. Shay Bilchceck, of Georgetown University, is a National Juvenile Expert who has been brought in to offer Iowa some advice. He says the first-contact with an offender is critical to their future.
“I think one of the main ways they benefit is to make sure that when they come in contact with the system, we have done a good assessment of exactly what risk level they present to reoffend and what their needs are to make sure that they don’t continue down this pathway toward criminality.”
He says youth who commit petty crimes for example, should be held accountable, but it might be best to keep them out of a residential correctional facility meant for more serious offenders. He says sometimes when the punishment doesn’t fit the crime, it can do more harm than good, and the offender eventually commits more, serious crimes.
Iowa Radio Network
July 2, 2013