S.F. Teen Murder After Jail Release Prompts Detention Debate


A teenager set free by a judge soon after Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered a reduction in the population at San Francisco’s overcrowded juvenile detention facility has been charged with murder in the shooting death of another teenager eight days after his release, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Anthony Ware, 16, had a robbery conviction on his record, was a ward of the court because his mother said she could no longer control him, and had been habitually violating probation conditions when he was released on May 7. Police said he killed another teen eight days later in a dispute over drugs. Said the victim’s father: “This is ridiculous — people with all kinds of records, and they get released to the streets to do another crime.”

Bill Siffermann, San Francisco’s juvenile probation chief, said about 40 youths were released last month after the mayor’s call for a reduction in population, and that each case was given careful consideration. Youth advocates pushing for alternatives to incarceration say the Ware shooting is a tragedy, but they argue that locking up more kids won’t solve juvenile crime. “In a well-designed, good system, that case would not have happened,” said N’Tanya Lee of Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth. Police say the killing was the predictable consequence of a system weighted heavily in favor of returning young offenders to their neighborhoods rather than placing them in youth detention programs. “This is one of many cases waiting to happen,” said Capt. Marsha Ashe of the Police Department’s juvenile division. “This isn’t the first case where a kid released on probation has committed a violent felony, and it won’t be the last.”

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/06/21/MNG43QJ3U71.DTL

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