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Youth detention is necessary

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POSTED: September 22, 2011 9:30 a.m.

“Finally the state has found a group of people who are applauding the heavy whacks that legislators are giving Georgia’s budget due to reduced revenues.” Who would cheer these deep cuts? Criminals, of course.
Recently, a juvenile court judge lamented the closure of youth detention centers, particularly in southeast Georgia. No facilities mean no time in the corner for young offenders, not even violent ones. There’s just no place to put them.
Nor is there likely to be anywhere to send them and keep them out of society’s hair for any length of time any time soon, notes state Rep. Roger Lane, R-Darien. That’s just the way it is. The state had to cut somewhere. Why not eliminate youth detention centers? No one is afraid of a kid with a gun or knife, right?
That’s OK, though. It just so happens that some lawmakers now are in the process of reworking state rules on how juvenile courts will deal with young criminals in the future. It just may be that those costly detention centers are permanent things of the past. Other, tough punishments like having to write 25 times “I will not take a gun to school” or “I will not cut my neighbor with a knife” might be in the offing.
This is not what Georgians want, and it’s definitely not what they asked for when they elected the men and women who represent them today in the General Assembly. The primary concern of lawmakers, as has been stated often before, is and always should be safety, the safety of constituents. Tinkering with laws that would expose the public, including children, to preteens or teens who are quick to anger and quick to pull out a knife and use it is not living up to that responsibility.
Sure, no one wants to send away a child. But sometimes it is necessary to separate them from others, from children who are not violent in nature, even when tax revenues are floundering, until someone figures out how to correct hostile or over-aggressive behavior.
It would be better to suspend the opening of a new public park or fishing hole than to allow dangerous individuals, including young ones, to mix and mingle with others.

— Online: www.thebrunswicknews.com

 

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