FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)- Juveniles who are first-time offenders will get a second chance in Peach County.
The PEACH Pride Partnership Agreement entered into the Peach County School District.
The agreement outlines procedures for providing early intervention for students who commit less serious offenses at school.
The goal is to do the following:
- Increase graduation rates
- Provide discipline to address the root cause of problem behavior
- Focus judicial resources on dangerous offenders
- Increase public safety in the community
The agreement started in Bibb County. District Attorney David Cooke says it has been extremely successful.
“Over 200 children who previously would’ve been prosecuted and arrested received notices of offenses which lead to counseling or other services,” Cooke said. “The children received help without getting arrested. Only ten of 200 re-offended.”
Superior Court Judge Jefferey Monroe was also apart of the agreement signing in Peach County.
“Instead of narrowing opportunities with students, they are creating and expanding opportunities,” Monroe said.
Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice, Chief of Staff Sean C. Hamilton says that 50% of youth in 19 detention centers in Georgia and 70% of youth in 7 long-term facilities were on a mental health caseload.
“In 2018, 50% of all youth in detention centers had a substance abuse disorder,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton believes that implementing the PEACH Pride Partnership will cut back on these numbers and deal with the problems in a school setting before it gets out-of-hand.
Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese says the Peach County Sheriff’s Office is committed and dedicated to making this school the best it can possibly be.
“SRO deputies are targeting young, minor first-time offenders and give them the resources they need to succeed and not commit the crime again,” Deese said.
David Cooke also said that by “raising up strong children, we don’t have to fix broken adults”
The agreement goes into effect on August 1st.