Board helps children get 'back on track'
November 20, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A parent's love for his child seems unconditional because the parent loves the child no matter what.
But, what does a parent do when a good child makes bad decisions' Where does the parent turn'
When a good child makes bad decisions, Fort Bragg's Juvenile Rehabilitation Board can help parents educate and reform the child's behavior.
The JRB is set up for juveniles under the age of 18 to have their cases reviewed instead of going before a federal court, said Capt. Alex Schneider, special assistant to the U.S. Attorney at the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, XVIII Airborne Corps.
JRB is made up of representatives from several offices on post, including, but not limited to, Child, Youth Services; Garrison Commander's Office; Office of the Staff Judge Advocate; Department of Social Work; and the Family Advocacy Program.
Schneider's job is to determine whether a juvenile's case needs to be referred to the JRB, prosecuted or dismissed, or whether the juvenile can be referred to a pre-trial diversion program.
"I think it's a pretty effective system. The high majority of juvenile delinquency probably is due to the lack of parental supervision and so the Juvenile Review Board is a tool for the parents, as well, to get their child on the right track," Schneider said.
Most of the cases that go before the rehabilitation board involve shoplifting or assault, Schneider said. Typically, juveniles are caught trying to steal from the Post Exchange or from other people. They are sometimes charged with vandalism or destruction of government property.
During the hearing, each member of the board gets the chance to ask the child questions that will help them make their recommendation. Questions range from asking for the child's version of what happened the day he was caught to what prompted him to commit the crime.
"We may make a recommendation that the juvenile be placed on probation and not prosecuted in federal court," Schneider said.
At other times, Schneider said the juvenile could be ordered to make restitution for an offense.
An official familiar with the JRB protocol has said that the process is meant to be uncomfortable. Going before the JRB is designed to provide rehabilitation.
One advantage of the JRB is that it may keep a juvenile from having a criminal record that could follow the minor through life.
"If the same juvenile committed a crime in Fayetteville, they would go to a North Carolina state court," Schneider explained. "Our role in SJA is screening, and we decide how a case is handled."