Just to our east, the Ramsey County Juvenile and Family Justice Center is seeing a drop in the juveniles who come through their doors. In two years, the detention center has seen the juvenile crime rate drop from 1,010 admissions in 2013 to just 776 in 2015 so far. Though some may not consider the change that significant, it does tell people in the community and surrounding counties that something is changing.

Some owe the successful drop of the juvenile crime rate to programs geared toward youths who are in Minnesota detention facilities. In some cases, mentors are able to work with troubled youths in order to stop the pattern of crime and offer them a better future. One program, called “Making a Map, Finding My Way Back,” is seeing a particular impact, helping at-risk youths make a “map” for their futures that doesn’t involve future crimes.

Programs such as this are in high demand in Minnesota. Communities from all over the state have weighed in on a need for better solutions to crime in our state. But while some groups still believe that stricter punishments for crimes is the answer, many more are starting to see the benefits of mentorship and programs that give juveniles the tools they need to stay off the streets and away from crime.

Though our state still has a long way to go, the introduction of new programs geared toward at-risk youths raises hope that our state’s disposition toward incarceration as the ultimate answer is waning, and that alternative programs could be the answer we need to once and for all mitigate crime and give those accused of crimes a better future after serving punishments.

Source: The Post Bulletin, “Troubled youths ‘find their voice’ in Circle of Peace,” Riham Feshir, Nov. 12, 2015

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