Juvenile crime and detention are on the rise across the USA. Reducing crime by teenagers or even younger youth is an important issue. Parents of minors accused of a criminal act should seek qualified legal representation immediately after an arrest. No parent wants to see their child caught in the criminal justice system, and for good reason.
Parents with children who are caught in the New Jersey juvenile justice system have difficult decisions to make, and need the assistance of an effective juvenile criminal defense lawyer. When a child’s future hangs in the balance, the quality, experience, and dedication of the attorney managing the case can make a significant difference in the final outcome.
Attorney Anthony J. Vecchio is recognized for his passion in protecting the rights of young people caught in the criminal justice system. He represents minors throughout the areas of Freehold, Mt. Laurel, Princeton, Jersey City, Red Bank, Woodbridge and the rest of the state of New Jersey.
Juvenile Crime Statistics in New Jersey and Nationwide
How does New Jersey fare on the issue of juvenile crime? Statistics for 2015 provided by the Juvenile Justice Commission show that Camden County has the highest rate of juvenile crimes in the state, followed by Union County, Essex County, Atlantic County, Middlesex County, and Passaic Counties.
Areas of high population generally have higher rates of juvenile crime. In the juvenile justice system in New Jersey, there are currently 681 young offenders in the system, 71.91 percent of whom are African-American, 17.7 percent who are Hispanic, and 10.11 percent who are white.
New Jersey is not alone when it comes to juvenile crime. A report from the NCJJ (National Center for Juvenile Justice) reveals that, juvenile crime has increased 20% in the past five decades. Over that same period:
- Delinquency cases involving drug offenses almost doubled;
- Person offenses increased 72 percent; and
- Public order cases increased 64 percent.
In one recent year, 1,236,200 cases of juvenile crime were reported, with 317,500 involving crimes against a person. The report also recorded 900 criminal homicides, 5,700 forcible rapes, 23,200 robberies, 31, 600 aggravated assaults, and 221,300 simple assaults, with 10,800 other violent sex offenses, and 23,000 other offenses against a person. Property crimes came in at 447,500 incidents in that one year.
The Risks for Incarcerated Youth
The troubles can continue for youths who are sent to detention centers. A report from the Anne E. Casey Foundation entitled “Maltreatment of Youths in U.S. Juvenile Corrections Facilities” revealed that one in 10 youths in state juvenile detention centers reported being victimized sexually.
Maltreatment in New Jersey facilities has been documented since 2000. In one instance, young offenders were held in 23-hour-per-day seclusion. The Juvenile Law Center has described the state’s juvenile correction system as being riddled with “ongoing abuse practices.” Riots have broken out in these detention centers in recent years, posing a serious danger for an incarcerated child.
A juvenile detention home in New Jersey is not where you want your child to go. At-risk children deserve to be helped – effectively.
The Use of Curfews in New Jersey to Prevent Juvenile Crime
Some cities in New Jersey have imposed a youth curfew to try to stem the tide of juvenile crimes in the area. Under curfew laws, violators can be taken into custody and must be released to a guardian, with fines imposed upon repeat offenders. These actions are an effort to reduce juvenile crimes including gang violence, but young people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time can face serious legal problems after an arrest.
Detention Alternative Programs for Juvenile Offenders in New Jersey
The state has options for at-risk youth that have proven to be effective in assisting young people to get their lives back on track. The Division of Youth and Family Services works with the Youth Advocate Programs called Detention Alternative Programs (DAI). Getting your son or daughter into one of these alterative programs is an option that must be explored immediately after an arrest for a criminal offense.
The program focuses on providing a framework of strategies that are geared to help reduce the inappropriate use of secure juvenile detention, while maintaining public safety. Alternatives to secure detention allow a youth facing criminal accusations to be supervised within the community, rather than being held in a detention center.
The state of New Jersey has been designated as a national model for the reform of the juvenile detention system. The lawyer representing your child can seek out alternatives to detention through this program.
Mr. Vecchio defends minors caught in the justice system, and carefully manages all of the legal issues associated with juvenile detention, juvenile arrests, juvenile court appearances, and every facet of the child interaction with the juvenile justice system for the following crimes:
- Violent Crimes
Governor Christie Signs Bill S2003 August 10th Directly Affecting Juvenile Offenders
On August 10th, Governor Chris Christie signed bill S2003, that directly affects how juvenile offenders are tried, sentenced, and confined. It’s most important aspect is that the minimum age in which juveniles can be tried as adults will increase from age 14 to 15. It will also only allow the most serious offenses to go to adult courts, and keep juveniles out of adult incarceration centers, changing the minimum age from 16 to 18. This bill has many other implications that we will continue to monitor and report on.
How Can Juvenile Delinquency be Prevented?
Many youths who are caught in the system begin a downward spiral as a result of learning disabilities. These children deserve to be helped. Programs to address these issues while the child is still young are critical to reducing the numbers of at-risk children. Local programs for at-risk youth such as the Second Chance program, providing mentors to help to steer these children down a better path. Early intervention is the most effective way to serve these children, and to assist them to avoid the pattern of delinquency, gang crime, or other types of offenses.
New Jersey has many programs that offer group and individual counseling, enrichment programs, and community outings, as well as educational support programs, all of which are critical in reducing and preventing juvenile crime numbers in New Jersey.
How Attorney Anthony J. Vecchio Can Help
Juvenile criminal defense lawyer Anthony J. Vecchio is passionate about helping young people caught in the criminal justice system, particularly at-risk youth. He defends young people accused of criminal offenses, as well as delinquency charges. He has a 10/10 rating on Avvo, and has been listed as a Super Lawyers® Rising Star® since 2012.
Prior to allowing the police to interview your child after being picked up for delinquency or a criminal charge, call Mr. Vecchio. A defense can begin immediately after an arrest. Call today to get the help your child deserves.