Saturday, May 12, 2012

Report: Juveniles in Ohio's adult system face challenges

A study released today by the Children’s Law Center, “Falling Through the Cracks,” concludes that young offenders in Ohio's adult system face a higher risk of being assaulted, are more prone to suicide and are 34 percent more likely to commit crimes once released than are offenders processed in the juvenile justice system, reported the Columbus Dispatch.

Each year, about 300 youth offenders — some as young as 14 — go through Ohio’s criminal-justice system and end up in adult jails and prisons.

“Too often, Ohio youth in the adult court system fall between the cracks — they are kids, but are being treated as adults, so they don’t fit into either the juvenile or adult system,” Kim Tandy, executive director of the Children’s Law Center, told the Dispatch. She said the report could help Ohio reshape policies to make the state’s “youth and communities safer by reducing the number of youth in adult court.”

Ohio has taken steps in recent years through the Reclaim Ohio program to reduce the number of offenders in juvenile prisons. As recently as 1995, there were 2,795 young offenders in Department of Youth Services facilities. In February of this year, there were 628, a decline of 78 percent, reported the Dispatch.

The full report can be viewed at

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