Sheriff Deputy Shane Kier would like a new approach in Crawford toward young offenders. It's called Restorative Justice.
It is a program that has been used in Delta County a few years ago, but then "lost steam."
"We have some good people behind it now," Kier told the Crawford Board of Trustees on July 17. "We're working toward getting it in place."
Restorative Justice is when the offender and victim have a group discussion with a community member. "If a store owner was victimized, we might bring in another store owner from the same community to help represent [the victim]," Kier said. The juvenile's parents would be there. "It's an opportunity to give the victim a voice in what happens."
In a vandalism case, the store owner might want the juvenile to repair the damage.
"It also holds the kids liable," Kier said. "It allows the kids to see the consequences of their actions. It makes them accountable."
Sheriff Fred McKee added that the program keeps kids out of court. "It doesn't tie up our dockets and doesn't create any criminal history for them."
The district attorney makes the final decision on which cases would be handled in the Restorative Justice program.
"It also gives [the offender] the opportunity to rectify the wrong," Kier said. "It's a good growing opportunity for the youth."
Kier then spoke about the idle time youth have in Crawford. He suggested the Town of Crawford light the basketball court at town park so there would be "a positive thing" for young people to do after dark.
"They should be home anyway if it's dark," trustee Hetty Todd remarked.
The lights could be on a timer and go out at 10 p.m.
He would also like to have a benefit basketball game between the kids and the sheriff's office. He wants more interaction with the youth.
Kier acknowledged there would be costs for the lights, installation and electricity.
Whoever loses the basketball game will have to restore the stage.
"Lights deter criminal activity," McKee said.blog comments powered by Disqus