Juvenile crime levels regarding crimes leading to incarceration have dropped to their lowest levels in Colorado since 1998, down 36% since 2006. This severe change in the apparent effectiveness of juvenile corrections has led to the state making the decision to close two of its juvenile facilities. While the state is citing better efforts to identify substance abuse and familial issues early, Colorado criminal defense attorneys point out that a push to reduce the number of offenders with minor offenses to locked facilities may have played a role.
In the end, the fact is that more kids are going to community-oriented programs instead of locked and secured juvenile facilities, and this has led directly to lower numbers of inmates at secured juvenile centers. Courts are looking more closely at the crimes being committed and deciding more carefully about appropriate corrective actions. Sending kids to juvenile lockdown isn’t the first or preferred option anymore.
One could argue that this is partly because criminal trial attorneys are better performing their jobs in recent years-the job of a criminal attorney isn’t only to see the client found not guilty. The job does not end with a guilty verdict.
The job of a Colorado criminal defense attorney is to defend the rights of their client, and this includes ensuring a fair and just punishment for a client found guilty of an accused offense. As the article points out, “Why would you put truants in [locked down facilities]?” Combined with increased efforts by social workers to identify problems early, the system is working.
In this case, the facilities being closed down will be converted into facilities serving other, badly needed purposes. One of them will be used for substance abuse treatment. Employees will be placed at other state institutions, so layoffs are expected to be minimal. All in all, a victory for the Colorado criminal justice system.