Plan presented for new MARC program to help juvenile delinquency

Plan presented for new MARC Program to help juvenile delinquency
Published: Nov. 22, 2016 at 9:13 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2016 at 10:43 PM EST
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Savannah City Council met Tuesday to talk about crime and find ways to keep kids out of the court system.
They want to find the root of the problem earlier, identifying children who may need help before it becomes a problem.
The Savannah-Chatham Police Department and Chatham County Court System presented a plan to create a Multi-Agency Resource Center also known as a MARC.

A MARC Program would establish resources outside of the court system to help kids in trouble. The problem leaders see in Savannah is the current response to juvenile delinquency is ineffective. Right now, the court system is all inclusive, a child who may have committed a minor infraction is wasting the same resources as those who have committed more serious crimes.

The shared goal of a MARC collaborative is to create more effective and earlier interventions in a child's life, to identify those that are acting out because they may need help, and those that actually pose a risk to community safety.

The statistics bear out, the further you can keep a child away from the juvenile justice system, the more likely they will succeed in life, said Chatham County Juvenile System Judge LeRoy Burke III.

Some goals along with creating a MARC center would be expanding programs like the summer jobs program, make it year round, but also teach young people skills so they are ready to get jobs when they reach working age.

Also, offer restorative justice. Basically give kids who have caused harm, a chance to make amends with the victims and community.

Finally, a MARC center could use be used to screen at risk youth, kids who are expelled from school, and others identified as starting to see problems with, to get them help or direction needed, before they commit crimes.    

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