In Luzerne County, Pa., home of the infamous “kids-for-cash” juvenille court scandal, a juvenile justice task force urged school personnel this week to work with them in a reform effort, reports the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. “(The juvenile justice) system is at a very different point than it was two years ago, or even one year ago,” said District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll. A new youth aid panel composed of three to five community volunteers will deal with juveniles who commit first offenses or minor offenses to be “held accountable” for their actions.
The panel, with no lawyers or police officers, will listen to juveniles and their parents. Juveniles may be required to write a letter of apology or an essay paper. “The juvenile has six weeks to complete the suggested work, and if successfully met, no criminal charges will be filed,” Musto Carroll said. Separately, victims of nearly 6,000 juveniles whose criminal records were expunged in the scandal after they appeared before former Judge Mark Ciavarella will soon learn how they can take advantage of $500,000 in state money to regain restitution. District Attorney Musto Carroll and Judge Arthur Grim will soon appear in a television commercial and other advertising instructing victims on how to claim money owed to them.