The transformation of the teenage girl can be traced in pictures.
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How we got the story
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been covering the juvenile justice system extensively, as well as the reforms that are to take place in the next few months. For this story, we identified a teenager who is locked up now but would not have been if she had come before a juvenile court judge after Jan. 1. Her situation illustrates the complexity of the issue of juvenile justice and the damage that can be done to teenagers who are a danger to no one but themselves and yet are still jailed under the present system.
New year, new approach
The Georgia General Assembly passed reforms to the state’s system of juvenile justice that seeks to reserve confinement mainly for violent juveniles. What the reforms would do:
- Bed space in secure state facilities will be reserved mainly for dangerous juvenile offenders.
- Juveniles who commit nonviolent crimes will be diverted to community-based programs such as home confinement.
- Status offenders, such as truants and runaways, would be sent to counseling to address the cause of their problems, which could be linked to drug or alcohol abuse, bad parenting or emotional or psychological issues.