N.J. Probation Unit Gives Kids Free Medical Care

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Several hundred juvenile offenders in Paterson, N.J., get free home health care visits from a doctor and nurses as part of their probation, says the New York Times. Staff members from Joseph’s Regional Medical Center volunteer time for monthly consultations, accompany probation officers on home visits, answering questions, giving medical advice and offering cursory checkups to youngsters and some family members.

The visits – part of the Village Initiative (as in, “It takes a village”) – might be helping cut recidivism. In the five years since the program began, recidivism rates that once hovered around 37 percent have fallen to just over 5 percent for those who receive visits. “This stuff is hard to quantify,” said probation chief John Krieger of Passaic County. “But I ask myself, ‘Why is the rate as low as we’ve ever seen it?’ ” Last year, the medical team made about 250 home visits. The $150,000 cost of the program is paid through grants from the office of the New Jersey attorney general, Peter C. Harvey. “It’s a holistic approach,” Krieger said.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/16/nyregion/16doctors.html?hp

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