ROCHESTER, NY — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello was joined today by law enforcement officials and leadership from the Monroe County Probation Department today to announce a new public safety initiative to address the increase in juvenile and youth crime in Monroe County. The Juvenile Enhanced Diversion Stabilization (JEDS) program will utilize the resources of the Monroe County Department of Public Safety and the County’s Probation Officers to fill gaps created under the state’s judicial system and support law enforcement officers making arrests.
“Car jackings and car thefts, smash and grabs, home and business robberies, and illegal gun violence have been happening at an alarming rate in our community. More and more, these crimes are being committed by juveniles and teenagers as part of social media challenges or pranks from their friends. It has to stop,” said County Executive Bello. “One thing is clear, and I have been saying it for months: there has to be accountability and consequences for these unlawful and harmful actions. There has to be a disruption in criminal activity committed by our young residents. Our Probation Department has developed a workaround to close the gaps in state legal system and has created a program to break up the cycle of criminal activity by juveniles and teens.”
“Since the onset of Raise the Age, juvenile crime has seemingly gone unchecked. The lack of consequence has emboldened these children to become involved in trending crimes, putting themselves and our community in danger,” said Chief Deputy Michael Fowler. “This is a step towards holding young offenders responsible, interrupting their cycle of criminal activity, and getting them the help they need.”
Currently, the juvenile justice system is structured so that any activity such as an arrest or court appearance is followed by periods of inactivity. As a result, many juveniles entering into the system today do not see any consequences for their actions for a protracted period of time.
Under the JEDS program, Probation is reducing the periods of time where no activity, programs or services occur in juvenile cases. Through this model, Probation is providing intensive supervision to juveniles entering into the state legal system for a much wider range of offenses
with the intention of safeguarding the community and the juvenile involved. During this time, planning and activities occur to disrupt the juvenile’s interactions with their peers.
To further safeguard the community, Monroe County Probation is working with local law enforcement to review and assess juvenile and teen arrests. Subsequent to the assessment, a decision is made to either house the offender in detention or to issue an expedited appearance ticket.
Monroe County Probation Officers are also assisting law enforcement with transportation and supervision of juvenile arrests between detention and court. Probation will supervise the juvenile until the court makes a determination whether to continue detention or grant release. This process has allowed police officers to get back on the streets instead of supervising juveniles as they await a court appearance.
“This is an unprecedented step and it makes Monroe County among the first in New York State to enlist our Probation Officers to help fight juvenile crime and bring greater accountability to juvenile and youth offenders. There’s not a simple fix and our plan is more than just detention. For this to work, we are creating a workaround in the state legal system so that teens are getting programs and services to remove them from the criminal environment sooner than the state legal system requires,” Bello concluded.