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Alternatives to detention for juvenile offenders in New York

When a minor is arrested, this is not only a concerning time for the young offender but also his or her family members. There is not only the concern that the minor will have a juvenile record but also the fear that the minor could be charged as an adult. Therefore, it is essential to consider the options available to juvenile offenders, ways to mitigate his or her situation and the criminal defense options available for juvenile offenses.

In the state of New York, there are various defense options available to juvenile offenders. For some, the best strategy is to avoid any form of detention. According NYC Administration for Children's Services, there are community-based programs available to serve the juvenile justice services.

These programs vary on the needs and type of juvenile involved in the justice system. Is this his or her first offense? What type of offense was it? Is the youth best served in this type of program or would his or her need be better met in a different program. These programs are generally considered alternatives to incarceration.

In fact, the alternative to a detention program is a means to prevent at-risk minors from getting involved in the criminal justice system. Additionally, it is a way to prevent young offenders from being detained in a state juvenile detention center or even placed in a residential setting once the juvenile is involved in the criminal justice system. The alternative to a detention program or ATD gives Family Court Judges the opportunity and discretion to send minors accused of criminal offenses home with services in place as an alternative to putting them in a detention center or a placement program.

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crimes a minor is accused of committing, it might be possible to avoid serving time in a detention center. This alternative program could help the minor stay on track with his or her education while reducing the harms and impacts the criminal allegation could have on their personal life. Because this is not the only defense option available to juvenile offenders, it is important for defendants to become fully aware of his or her rights and the options afforded to them.

Source: Nyc.gov, "Alternatives," accessed July 25, 2016

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