Hillsborough County's Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program listen11/04/11 Atecia Robinson
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Hillsborough Countyâ€™s Juvenile Justice Task Force has been working on its Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program for nearly a year. The last information session held this week at Lennard High School.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner has said the Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program would allow children to complete community service and receive a civil citation instead of an arrest for first time offenders. Only two citizens from Ruskin attended the meeting. Sharon Barton, a youth pastor at the Center for Restoration Church said she thought the program would help students at her church.
Robert Blount, one of the presenters from Abe Brown Ministries said he thought the program was progressing as planned.
Blount said a child was arrested even though he was eligible for a civil citation, but he didnâ€™t give specifics when asked about it later.
Currently the program is limited to children who commit no more that eight misdemeanors before they are arrested. Cordel Batchelor, a public defender said she does not think the program will grow to include felony charges such as burglary.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner said the Juvenile Justice Task Force hasnâ€™t encountered any difficulties in the program.
He said he hopes more children can be helped.
Beckner said that anyone interested in having a private meeting about the Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Program can contact his office at 813-272-5730.
Here's our previous coverage