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Will Virginia juvenile offender system change?

It is not just adults who face criminal charges in the state of Virginia, juveniles do too. Though these matters are often handled differently than when adults are charged, the consequences can nonetheless be serious and dramatically change the life of the young person as well as his or her family. There is currently a movement in the state to change the policies currently in place pertaining to juvenile offenders. 

Among other things, advocacy group Rise for Youth, would like to close the state’s youth prisons. It would also like to get more support groups in place. The idea is that kids, who otherwise would go to detention facilities, would instead stay in local jails where they could be close to their families and participate in rehabilitation programs. The state reports that mental issues are present for close to 70 percent of the youth currently in prison.

The group would also like to change the threshold for felony larceny. The lowest in the country, currently, the theft of $200 or more is considered a felony. Rise for Youth is seeking to have that threshold raised to $500. This could result in fewer juveniles facing felony charges.

As is the case when adults are charged with crimes, the severity of the sentence for a conviction will vary, depending on what they are found guilty of. Since in more serious cases life can dramatically change for these individuals, it is important to aggressively defend against such allegations. Because young people have so many years ahead of them it is even more important that swift action is taken.

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