Defendant Story

Many of the teens we now handle have stolen large amounts from the stores or have stolen numerous times (the stores keep a tally of what is stolen by the same individual and when it reaches over $500, they have them arrested).  Two of our defendants were 11-year old girls arrested for shoplifting over $500 each at a local department store.  They were “assigned” this task by their mother and aunt who had already completed their shoplifting. While attending the Community Impact Panels, both girls said they had not wanted to shoplift, but that is what their family did.  One young lady said she wanted to be a nurse; the other wanted to be a teacher.  After reporting this story to the Department of Social Services, the girls were removed from this environment and now live with their grandmother.  Both are currently volunteering with Teen Court and are attending a new school.  Even though we are working with more troubled teens, we have managed to keep our re-offense rate for those attending Community Impact Panels to an encouraging 5%.