Plans to keep juvenile offenders out of detention centers

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The State Department of Youth Services unveiled their plan to keep low risk juvenile offenders out of detention centers.

The Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative has been launched in five other counties across Massachusetts. The goal is to find more effective ways to keep low risk juveniles from getting into more trouble.

They say research shows that locking kids up with other high-risk juveniles while they wait for trial only increases their chances of future delinquent behavior. Specific alternatives to detention may include electronic monitoring, foster care, case conferencing and other programs.

The details of the initiative were revealed Wednesday at Springfield Technical Community College.

Ruth Rovezzi, Acting Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Youth Services, told 22News, “Interventions earlier in the process to prevent low risk young people. This is about low risk young people and making sure that we reduce their access to high risk kids that are more involved with serious delinquent activity.”

Now, seven state committees will take a look at everything from improving confinement conditions to racial and ethnic disparities. Before the initiative, there were nearly 5,000 kids being held on bail.

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