Police offer new program for juvenile offenders

Annapolis police JOINS program aims to prevent repeat offenders

April 15, 2010|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

First-time juvenile offenders in Annapolis will be offered an alternative to a juvenile record with the start of a new program offered by police.

The Juvenile Offenders in Need of Supervision Program, or JOINS, will give first-time offenders under the age of 18, who admit to minor crimes and agree to enter into the 90-day program, a chance to expunge their record, if the victim agrees.

"It's for those kids that you can work with and give the right attention to. They need to be given a second chance," said Det. Shelley White, director of the program.

White said that last year, of the 331 juvenile arrests, about 25 percent could be eligible for JOINS, helping to ease up resources in the juvenile system for more serious offenders. It also will allow police to work with youths early on.

The Annapolis program was modeled in part on the Baltimore County JOINS program, which started in 1997.

Director of youth initiatives in Baltimore County, Mark Metzger, said 92 percent of youths who completed the program last year did not commit a crime one year later; an increase of 3.2 percent from 2008.

Both JOINS programs use sanctions such as curfew, community service hours, essays, apology letters, drug treatment and counseling and anger management classes to deal with shoplifting, fighting and similar offenses.

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