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How Do I Keep My Child Out of Juvie?

Plans announced by the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would see two juvenile detention centers in Tompkins County and Orange County close, with the two facilities expected to be fully closed by the end of July. The move is part of Governor Cuomo’s Close to Home initiative, in which juvenile offenders are placed within a community-based model, close to their hometowns. The Office of Children and Family Services sees this as a more effective method for rehabilitation.

The news of the planned closures was made more significant by the recently published findings from a U.S. Department of Justice survey into juvenile justice detention facilities. The survey found that hundreds of teenagers held in detention centers are subject to sexual assault and rape by detention center staff, with 20 percent of those abused reporting they had been assaulted on more than 10 occasions. The rate of sexual abuse in juvenile facilities is approximately three times higher than the rate in the adult prison system, and provides a stark reminder of the dangers your child could face in the juvenile system.

Fighting to keep your child safe

If your child is aged between seven and 16 and has been arrested for a crime, he or she falls under the jurisdiction of the Family Court as a juvenile delinquent. It is in the best interests of the child to keep your child out of a detention facility to the fullest extent possible. An experienced family lawyer familiar with criminal defense can help protect your child in a number of ways:

  • Release before the fact-finding hearing. At the initial hearing after arrest, the court has discretion to release your child or order detention until the fact-finding hearing. A determined attorney should argue forcefully that your child’s interests are best served by being released.
  • Defense against the charges. The court enters an order for a dispositional hearing and an investigation of your child’s home and school circumstances only once the prosecution’s case has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. An effective lawyer can produce witnesses and evidence to defend your child against the petition of juvenile delinquency, and weaken the case of the prosecution.
  • Petitioning for home-based supervision. At a dispositional hearing, the court has a certain level of discretion as to which measure would be most appropriate. The available measures include orders of protection, conditional discharge, probation, placement in care, transfer to mental health facilities and detention in a juvenile detention facility. An experienced lawyer can help ensure your child is kept in a safe environment.

If your child is facing the juvenile system, get the best help available. Help your child stay out of a juvenile detention facility by engaging with a supportive Nassau County juvenile delinquency lawyer.

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