Citing a rise in serious and violent crimes, Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher announced a new initiative Tuesday that he says aims to “improve outcomes for youth, their families, victims and the community in the current juvenile justice system.” designed to investigate and change.”
Fletcher, former commander of the St. Paul Police Juvenile Unit, said he would convene a panel of experts and “parents whose children have been failed by the current juvenile justice system” to examine the juvenile justice system’s “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and to identify”. Threat.”
In a statement announcing the initiative, Fletcher said, “The shortcomings of the current juvenile justice system are well documented as more and more youth are engaging in serious and violent crimes ranging from auto thefts, carjackings and shootings. ” “I’ve spoken to dozens of parents who have made this clear: The status quo isn’t working; there are no consequences, no resources and no support. Young people often repeat the same dangerous and criminal behavior. is released from custody.”
Fletcher said the experts would be from law enforcement — including school resource officers — prosecutors, probation, corrections and agencies that help youth. In addition, he said, the group, which will be renamed the Juvenile Justice Reform Committee, will be made up of former employees of the Juvenile Detention Center in Boys Totem Town, Ramey County, who in August 2019 became increasingly strong “alternatives” due to high vacancy rates. After it was closed. to imprison”.
Fletcher said the committee will draw on parent experience, data and research, stakeholder collaboration and community engagement as a foundation for the work. He said it would also prepare a formal report and recommendations, which would be sent to the state legislature for “long-term and systematic reforms”.
“To be clear: there is no opening to say whether all youth are in custody or that custody is the only option,” he said. “This is an opportunity to work together to design a system that holds youth accountable by fostering personal change, providing resources (for parents) and ultimately ending the cycle of criminal behavior.” So that necessary life changes can be made to empower youth to grow into productive, law-abiding members of the community.”
Fletcher said the committee’s work will include developing “appropriate and effective responses,” increasing community resources, and helping children succeed. In keeping with the county board’s decision to close Boys Totem Town, he said it would review custody criteria, risk assessment tools, charging practices, probation resources and decision processes, in addition to the facility’s needs.
“We all have a responsibility to help young people lead successful lives,” Fletcher said. “The future of our communities depends on the success of our children. We can and should do better.”
totem town closed
Boys Totem Town was in operation in the St. Paul Battle Creek neighborhood for over 100 years. But occupancy in a residential treatment facility decreased over the years as Ramsey County’s judicial system shifted away from out-of-home placements for juvenile offenders. In 2015, there were 125 teenagers outside the home in Ramsey County; In 2019 they fell to 32. By the time it closed, there were six nominees.
At the time, county officials attributed the decline to ongoing system-wide efforts through the Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative and related “deep-end” reforms that shifted the focus from confinement and “functional family medicine and cultural practices.” Focused on options like specific services.”
“This trend aligns with the general decrease in crime rates in Ramsey County over the past several years,” the county said in a statement at the time.
In late 2016, Ramsey and Hennepin counties abandoned plans to build a joint center for delinquent youth after public outcry that the proposal was not in the best interests of juveniles and that it ignored the will of the community. Officials from both countries have been analyzing and meeting for many years to see how they can work together to improve and broaden services for delinquent juveniles in the metro area. Part of the discussion involved building a joint facility to replace the Boys Totem Town and Hennepin County home school.