Post authorities crack down on juvenile crime
November 20, 2009
- Based on the severity, some cases are referred to the Juvenile Misconduct Action Authority
- The maximum penalty is expulsion from post
- The goal is to take care of youth
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Getting caught breaking the law on post can leave a juvenile's family looking for a new place to live.
The garrison command sergeant major said restriction from entering and living on post, which could force a family to move if the child has nowhere else to live, is the most severe penalty imposed by the Juvenile Misconduct Action Authority and is used as a "last resort."
CSM James Foreman leads the JMAA board that disciplines Soldiers' children for juvenile misconduct, such as vandalism or theft.
Although he doesn't recall exercising this option, Foreman said he wants the community to be aware of how severe repercussions can be.
"We want to get the word out that (misconduct) won't be tolerated," said the command sergeant major.
Detective Clarence Rambo, chief of military police investigation, and his staff are responsible for preparing incident reports for the installation hearing officer, who has the option to refer the case to JMAA, based on the severity of the offense.
The JMAA includes representatives from the Military Police Investigation, Department of Social Work Services, Garrison School Liaison and Community Life Service. The process can take up to three months, but is an alternative to state or federal law enforcement.
"This program is designed for military kids to try to steer them in the right direction," Foreman said.
The board seeks to understand why the juvenile committed the crime and to deter them from getting in trouble again.
Juvenile misconduct is anti-family, Rambo said, because everyone who lives on post is part of the Army family. For example, "shoplifting is basically stealing from your family."
Rambo said he has seen a decline in juvenile incidents in recent months, and Foreman considers the alternative successful.
"If you compare the amount of kids on post and the amount who are getting in trouble, it's in the 1 to 2 percent range," Foreman said.
Less-severe penalties include writing an essay, completing community service and touring a jail.
Ultimately, the goal is taking care of military youth, Foreman said.