Gascón: No Punishment For Juvenile Criminals
Doubling down on policies guaranteed to increase crime, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón announced yesterday that he is expanding a program which protects juvenile offenders from prosecution. Scott Schwebke of the LA Daily News reports that the the expanded REDY program will allow juveniles facing charges for robbery, burglary, arson, sexual battery and assault to be diverted to a “restorative justice” program and avoid prosecution. The Executive Director of Centinela Youth Services, which will manage the program, told reporters that studies have shown that juveniles participating in her program are 50-70% less likely to be rearrested. She presented no link to any study so we’ll just have to take her word for it.
Eric Siddall, Vice President of the Los Angeles County Association of Deputy District Attorneys told the Daily News “Suitability is no longer the standard under Gascón’s approach. Rather there’s a blanket approach regardless of the crime. With Gascón’s policy, you can sexually batter someone and you may never see the inside of a courtroom. You can rob someone and may never be held accountable.”
Gascón’s office suggests that the diversion program will save thousands of tax dollars needed to prosecute and incarcerate offenders. The program falls in line with Gascón’s social justice agenda which forbids prosecuting violent juveniles as adults, eliminates cash bail, seeks the shortest sentences possible even for violent criminals and refuses to seek the death penalty for the county’s worst murderers. With the Mayor of LA, the County Sheriff and even Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledging the crime crisis surging across the state, “The only person who seems not to realize there is a crisis is District Attorney Gascón,” said Siddall.
Hi Michael –
I believe Gascon’s approach, which will try to address the root causes of juvenile’s criminal behavior, will probably be more effective for society in the long run if at least some of these kids can be redirected on a more positive path – the alternative, more incarceration, would seem to me to be more destructive as a juvenile would have their criminal tendencies bolstered by years of incarceration with other criminals. I applaud progressive prosecutors who, rather than try to incarcerate more and more people for longer and longer sentences, are trying to reduce criminal behavior without using incarceration and are addressing the societal factors that can cause criminals to commit crimes. It may seem to be counterintuitive but I believe that more and more incarceration only fuels an extremely negative cycle of crime in people who go to prison – if somebody’s life can be redirected without using prison and lifelong collateral consequences, the law should allow prosecutors to use that approach.