Tuesday night community members in Hennepin County came together to voice concerns around the continuing issues of juvenile crime in the twin cities. This listening session is one of a series of such meetings as twin cities communities are grappling with the issues of increased juvenile offenses.
Law Enforcement is targeting juvenile crime through Operation Safe Summer, with emphasis on increased police presence in high crime areas around specific dates and times that are likely to have more criminal activity. Juvenile Court judges are focusing on expediting the legal process to ensure that juvenile offenders are not just being released without accountability or intervention. Juvenile Court Presiding Judge Mark Kappelhoff highlighted four policy changes that the courts have implemented to address this issue; any young person charged with fleeing a police officer in a motor vehicle will be mandatorily detained and has to appear before a judge within 36 hours, any youth charged in an auto theft must get a court date within three days to expedite the case, any carjacking case in which a young person is charged will be specifically assigned to a judge, and the court has launched a pre-trial services program to provide earlier intervention and support their family.
KARE 11 concluded an investigation earlier this year that showed that over 200 juveniles have been arrested for serious or violent crimes since 2020. If tried as adults for those crimes these cases would likely result in prison sentences. Of the juveniles arrested three out of every four are repeat offenders. Their investigation showed that children with mental illnesses are being even more seriously harmed by an ineffective system. The residential treatment facilities that contract with Hennepin County for juveniles with mental illness are unwilling to take kids with aggressive behaviors. One such child has been repeatedly caught in a cycle of arrests for violent crime, being found unfit to stand trial due to disabilities, being released without charges, and then refused acceptance into treatment programs. This is what is referred to as a gap case, and accounts for approximately 75% of case results. You can read more about that here.
For more information you can visit our juvenile practice information here.
If you or your child have been charged with a crime, please contact us for a free case evaluation at 763-421-6366.