Juvenile arrests in Florida have dropped to a 30-year low, Dan McCarthy of the Florida TaxWatch Center for Smart Justice writes in the Ocala (FL) Star-Banner.. He partly credits state Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters, who has focused on practices that prevent incarceration and divert youth away from the criminal justice system.
Walters pushed for civil citations instead of arrests, and wants to hold juveniles accountable outside the criminal justice system when they commit nonviolent acts and admit their offense. This strategy avoids the damage of incarceration and recidivism, McCarthy says. The number of juveniles in detention facilities in Florida has been reduced 50 percent. The Department of Juvenile Justice has not only saved taxpayers millions in future prison costs, but also has reduced its budget. The plan is named “Roadmap to Success.”