There simply are not enough programs for troubles teens, nor military teen boot camps , rehabs or foster homes. So where do you go with teen offenders? You send them home with a collar around their ankle. You fund a group of juvenile and mental health professionals to monitor all released juvenile offenders and hope that they will catch an out-of-control teen should he or she decide to commit more crimes.
“Fort Myers authorities are keeping a close watch on juvenile offenders in the hopes of preventing them from being arrested again.
The Fort Myers Police Department is using nearly $249,000 in federal grant money to extend its program for monitoring youth offenders who have been arrested in connection with violent crimes or gun possession charges.
The program, now in its third year, relies on a team of four police officers, a gang-prevention officer and a juvenile probation officer to keep tabs on the dozens of juvenile offenders ordered to participate as part of their court sentence.
Dubbed the Juvenile Arrest and Monitoring unit, the team’s officers watch 19 juvenile offenders with electronic bracelets and will receive a computer alert if the youths violate their probation by being out after curfew or not going to school.
“Basically, we keep track of them in real time, 24 hours a day,” Fort Myers police officer Mary Ellen Hughes said.”
By Ann Walker