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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Iowa focuses on 'restorative justice' for young offenders

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Monday, April 1, 2024   

A new report by national researchers says Iowa is making progress in reforming its juvenile justice system, and finding ways to steer kids away from crime - long term.

The state convened a task force last year to study youth crime diversion programs.

Senior Research Fellow for Youth Justice with The Sentencing Project, Dick Mendel, said Iowa is one of the states making progress on addressing juvenile justice issues, by focusing on ways to keep kids from being incarcerated - and maybe discouraging them from committing crimes in the first place.

"Diversion tends to be cheaper," said Mendel. "It's not a net cost, it's a net savings, even in the short term. And it's especially a net savings financially in the long term, because these young people are much less likely to come back."

Iowa has also implemented restorative justice programs, which engage young people in repairing the harm caused by their behavior. That can often mean face-to-face meetings with their victims.

The Sentencing Project report also shows that Black youth in Iowa tend to be arrested for disorderly conduct more than white youth by a factor of 8 to 1, despite comprising a much smaller percentage of the state's population.

Mendel said while Iowa and other U.S. states are starting to bolster diversion programs, the idea of finding ways to rehabilitate young people and keep them from offending again is not new.

"When you look at other nations, 75 to 80% of the young people who are identified as possibly being fit for prosecution, are diverted," said Mendel. "Other countries have seen this research, and they've responded."

Iowa, Florida, Georgia, Kansas and Utah now track results of their diversion programs, which Mendel sais helps those states to make them more effective.




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