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PNS Daily Newscast - November 15, 2018 


Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

Daily Newscasts

Catching AZ’s Crime-Prone Kids Before It’s Too Late

August 28, 2009

TUCSON, Ariz. - Arizona's overwhelmed court system is relying increasingly on community-based organizations to point youthful offenders in the right direction. Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest is launching two parallel programs in Tucson, with eventual plans to expand statewide.

La'Tresa Jester, director of community development for the group, says the boys program, "Thinking for a Change," is an extension of their jailhouse counseling.

"So, we will pick up from where the counselors leave off out of incarceration, and then be able to continue with that after they're released."

Girls have a separate program, "Girl's Circle." The programs operate under a grant from the Arizona Office of the Courts, Jester explains, offering one-stop guidance for kids in their own neighborhoods, including counseling, therapy and social services.

The boys' program lasts 22 weeks, but "Girls Circle" is only ten weeks. Jester says the difference reflects two approaches to counseling, as well as two different types of offenses.

"We find a lot of our boys are more involved in the gangs - the violence, the fighting, and the weapons. Girls appear to be more involved in the domestic violence side, at home with the parents - with the talking back, fighting at home, that type of stuff."

Jester says the programs will be successful if kids can be steered away from committing more serious crimes.

"The hope is to get to these kids into a status that they call 'diversion' - when they start a minor crime or a petty crime, if you can get to them then, then there will be less kids incarcerated, for the long term."

Next month, she says the organization will apply for a grant month to expand the programs into Maricopa County. There are also plans to include students who have been suspended from high schools.

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ