In a recent poll, it was discovered that most state residents are not in favor of incarceration or punishment for underage criminals. In fact, as much as 85 percent of the population of New Jersey prefers some kind of prevention or rehabilitation for those found responsible for a juvenile crime. While most agree that a child should be held accountable for his or her actions, the severity of such accountability is in question.

For example, one child advocate feels that counseling and treatment programs are much better for kids who commit a crime. Such community-based programs would allow the children to stay in school and have interaction with other kids. She feels that this is a much better alternative than removing the child from society.

According to the report, as many as 75 percent of all juveniles who are sent to a youth prison will be arrested again within a three-year period. By placing these kids in a community-based program, the court could be giving them a chance to receive the proper guidance they need to avoid a life of crime. It is also cheaper for the state since it costs about $540 a day for a juvenile to be held in youth prison, but only $75 a day for them to be involved in one of these types of programs.

While New Jersey residents seek to have those accused of a juvenile crime in a community program, a criminal law attorney can help guide parents in how to approach a judge with the idea for their own child. Whether the charge is assault, truancy, shoplifting, drugs or alcohol or other juvenile charges, a criminal lawyer can present various options, and help the parents decide which is best for their child. The final decision is up to the judge, but in some cases, such a program may be just the answer for a child in need.

Source:, “Most in N.J. favor rehabilitation over incarceration for young offenders”, Phil Gregory, April 11, 2017