Orlando, Florida (PRWEB) March 29, 2014
Florida’s Juvenile Justice System has received attention recently during this year’s first Senate hearing, according to an article from news.wfsu.org on February 21st. Juveniles are considered to be youngsters under the age of 18, and the group that is giving the attention to the juveniles in Florida believes that juvenile delinquents should be handled completely by the Juvenile Justice System and not by the adult courts.
Specific groups like Children's Campaign, FSU Project on Accountable Justice, and The James Madison Institute are bringing the Senate into the awareness that positive revisions are necessary in the Department of Juvenile Justice, or the DJJ, and the vote was unanimous for the Juvenile System to handle more juvenile delinquency cases. Rep. Sen. Rob Bradley has presented several bills before the Senate, which are all focused on helping delinquent kids in Florida. DJJ Secretary Walters agrees with the improvements because she knows that it has been over 10 years since there have been significant revisions.
The largest bill passed contains four major changes in the DJJ.
1. A significant direction was provided to place more importance on prevention services for all the youth.
2. A significant revision will direct juveniles who have had two or more arrests in less than a year to be held in a secure detention.
3. Another will require notification to the victim when a juvenile delinquent who committed certain crimes escapes or is released from a residential facility.
4. And the State Attorney office was not to re-direct any funds that the Legislature had put into evaluations and counseling processes for the juveniles. This program is a commitment to decrease them from re-offending. The revision’s group believes that this program affects the youth and helps them to make more positive choices in their life.
The Umansky Law Firm, a criminal defense and personal injury law firm located in Orlando, Florida, has handled hundreds of juvenile-related cases over the past decade. Anne Wedge-Mcmillen, an attorney with The Umansky Law Firm, is well aware of the juvenile justice system’s status.
“The juvenile justice system is indeed in need of revision and attention from our lawmakers,” Attorney Wedge-Mcmillen said. “The most important aspect of the new focus is, hopefully, is the emphasis on preventive services. So many of the accused youth I represent have parents stretched beyond their means working multiple jobs with single parent households and little time or money for consistency in role modeling and discipline .”
Jacksonville Dem. Sen. Audrey Gibson reminded the lawmakers that youth should not be treated as adults. CEO and President of The James Madison Institute Bob McClure is excited about the changes that have occurred so far, and he is ready to do much more.
“We feel it important to codify the principles and practices borne out by research in Florida’s juvenile justice program that saves money and ensures positive outcomes for children,” said McClure when asked about the progress of his institute's efforts.
McClure agreed that the practices and principles that DJJ already has in place should continue to be the foundation for all juvenile programs because the research has already been done.
Not only does McClure agree on effective juvenile programs, but also many legal professionals in Florida.
“Providing after and before school activities with tutoring and mentoring would be of great benefit to so many delinquent youth,” said Attorney Wedge-Mcmillen. “Providing access to sex education and mental health counseling in this ‘prevention’ focus will also keep children out of the system. Sadly however if the words are put on paper but no actual funding is directed to the DJJ this will be a "change" without significance.”
In keeping with this concept, the groups desiring more revisions agree that they do not want juvenile cases handled in adult courts, but for all to be contained within the DJJ system.