PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia wants to change the way it deals with juvenile offenders and it’s applied for a competitive grant to get it started.
The city proposes a non-police facility for youth who have run-ins with the law.
A Juvenile Justice Hub with facilities designed only for non-adults, where the offenders see not only police officers but social workers, where decisions would be made about custody and other services. That’s the vision of the Kenney administration’s criminal justice team, according to Julie Wertheimer.
“We’re talking about more vulnerable members of our society and we should treat them accordingly,” she said.
She says the approach would have benefits not just for the offenders.
“If you address the root cause of whatever behavior led to an encounter with police, they’re much less likely to have that encounter again and engage in crime as an adult,” Wertheimer said.
The city entered the idea in the Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge, which awards up to $5 million, but Wertheimer says the city’s committed to the idea, regardless of the prize.