Greater Use Of Juvenile Civil Citations Sought

September 16, 2016

A coalition of groups released a report Wednesday that calls for an increased use of civil citations for juvenile offenders in Florida.

Civil citations serve as an alternative to arresting youths for incidents such as fighting, minor drug and alcohol offenses and petty theft. Instead of being arrested, the offenders are required to do such things as community service and writing letters of apology to their victims.

Although the use of civil citations has increased recently, about 12,000 Florida youths were arrested for those types of misdemeanors last year. Children’s advocates said a majority of the youths should have been instead given civil citations, as juvenile records can prevent young people from renting apartments, entering the military or getting jobs.

The coalition of groups held a news conference Wednesday in Tallahassee to call for using more civil citations.

“We are not here today to pick a fight with law enforcement, but we are here to make a point,” said Roy Miller, president The Children’s Campaign. “The pilot project is in. The research is conclusive. Civil citations work better than arrests, and we need to get everybody on board.” The use of civil citations by law enforcement is voluntary, and statewide the diversion plans are used 42 percent of the time when they are an option.

“The alarming thing about this report is that there are still too many communities that are jeopardizing the future of young people by saddling them with an arrest record for a non-violent, minor offense,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida.

by The News Service of Florida


5 Responses to “Greater Use Of Juvenile Civil Citations Sought”

  1. Gia Dianne on May 1st, 2017 4:19 pm

    Everyone I know did something when they was a youth that they regret. Youth minds do not rationalize like adult minds do. Yes most know right from wrong but they do not rationalize the consequences because they are thinking with a child’s mind that is still developing. I did stupid things when I was a teen that you couldn’t pay me to do now. I don’t think it should haunt them the rest of their lives. Separating children from their parents do not always help. I think community service would be a better alternative.

  2. Esc co Leo on September 17th, 2016 1:35 am

    There are occasions when a youth will be “scared straight” by their first interaction with law enforcement and a civil citation. But for most kids who felt it was ok to commit the crime that they did, I don’t think a letter of apology is going to have much affect.

  3. anne on September 16th, 2016 9:56 am

    They made the choice and they knew better. Most of us make the right choice, we stay out of trouble to begin with.

  4. nod on September 16th, 2016 8:57 am

    If you don’t do the crime you will not have a record.

  5. Patriot on September 16th, 2016 7:41 am

    “…Jeopardizing the future of young people by saddling them with an arrest record…”

    Hey Mr. Simon, has it ever occurred to you that the person “saddling them with an arrest record” is the offender?

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