Majority Chairman Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) invited the executive director of the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission into the Capitol Tuesday to provide House Judiciary Committee members with information about various ways in which the JCJC is trying to improve the juvenile justice system in the Commonwealth.
Executive Director Keith Snyder provided the committee with background about the JCJC and went over a multitude of statistics that pointed out ways Pennsylvania could enhance the current juvenile justice system.
The JCJC’s mission is to protect the public’s interest and provide programs of supervision, care and rehabilitation for children who commit delinquent acts. These programs are intended to provide a balance between attention to the protection of the community, imposition of accountability for offenses committed and the development of competencies to enable children to become responsible and productive members of the community.
“We continue to search for initiatives that will positively help to reform our juvenile justice system,” said Rep. Marsico. “The JCJC has closely studied recidivism, which will allow them to implement their practices accordingly.”
The JCJC’s initiatives include:
-- Training juvenile probation officers to provide juveniles with effective tools and skills to meet their identified needs and change their behavior, instead of simply monitoring the juveniles in a more hands-off approach.
-- Focus on medium- and high-risk offenders in order to track ways of reducing recidivism.
-- Examining the juvenile offenders’ family circumstances, education, possible substance abuse problems, potential personality and/or behavioral issues and taking a closer look at their peer group.
“There are many factors that go into deciding what’s best for these juveniles and we want to apply these tactics appropriately,” said Rep. Marsico. “These kids have a chance to turn their lives around. Instead of writing them off as lost causes, we are attempting to rehabilitate them and give them a chance to become productive members of society, while lowering our overall crime rate. It’s a win-win.”For more information, visit the House Judiciary Committee and Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission webpages.