Program offers juvenile offenders alternative to immediate incarceration

Posted at 10:31 PM, Jun 29, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-30 00:31:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Hundreds of youth in Utah get in trouble with the law every year, and an early intervention program designed at getting such kids back on track held an open house Friday.

The event was held to celebrate the success of the Utah Division of Juvenile Justice Services' Observation and Assessment program, which is a court-ordered program that offers an alternative to immediate incarceration.

According to a press release from the organization, 99 percent of youth in the program had previously been admitted to locked detention.

Scott Campbell, Director of Observation and Assessment, said 600 kids and teens ages 11 to 17 were ordered to take part in the 45-day treatment program. The course focuses on getting to the core of the children’s issues, and most graduates end up staying out of trouble.

“In that 45 days our job is to really get a good idea of what's going on in their lives,” he said. “We're really looking at all elements of their lives and figuring out what it is that's going wrong, why they're behaving the way they are.”

Campbell said the program has a nearly 97 percent success rate, which means the graduates remained felony free for the 90 days following their release.