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Second Chance for Juvenile Offenders

DJJ, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the 15th Judicial Circuit Team Up to Help Kids Avoid Detention

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Palm Beach -- The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), the 15th Judicial Circuit (Palm Beach County) and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office announce "Second Chance Week," giving approximately 300 juveniles who have an active warrant or pick-up order the opportunity to turn themselves in, secure a court date and go home. Normally, these youth would be held in secure detention pending appearance before a juvenile court judge.

"This is the first time we have ever offered youth in Palm Beach County this opportunity," said DJJ Secretary Frank Peterman, Jr. "I hope that they will take advantage of this second chance and avoid deeper involvement with the juvenile justice system."

"This is an opportunity for those involved to ‘do the right thing’ and come forward. Everyone in life at some point in time deserves a second chance," stated Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw. "If they opt not to ‘do the right thing,’ then they will be held accountable to the system."

For the time period of April 18 - 27, 2009, individuals under the age of 18 who have an active pick-up order or warrant in Palm Beach County are being given a second chance to avoid detention through a partnership between DJJ, the 15th Judicial Circuit and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. There are currently approximately 300 outstanding warrants and pick-up orders for youth in Palm Beach County. Youth who choose to turn themselves in to the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Juvenile Assessment Center (DJJ JAC) during this 10-day period will not be held, but, instead, will be released the same day with a new court date. Parents or guardians of a child with an active pick-up order or warrant in Palm Beach County can bring a youth. The DJJ JAC is located at 3400 Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach.

"We at the Department of Juvenile Justice understand that missing a court date is serious, and we would like to offer these kids an opportunity to help in the resolution of their own cases," said Feirmon Johnson, Circuit 15 Chief Probation Officer.

To qualify for this opportunity the warrant or pick up order must be for a misdemeanor offense that is not sex crime-related, or for a non-violent third degree felony. For more information, please call Rick Potrekus or Lola Alston at the DJJ JAC at (561) 682-0000.

DJJ’s mission is to increase public safety by reducing juvenile delinquency through effective prevention, intervention and treatment services that strengthen families and turn around the lives of troubled youth. Our vision is that the children and families of Florida will live in safe, nurturing communities that provide for their needs, recognize their strengths and support their success. For more information, please visit www.djj.state.fl.us.

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