By Mrs. Shatara Seymour (Leonard Wood)September 22, 2016
Peer pressure, raging hormones, absentee parents, poor role models among many other things may plague today's youth, which could result in poor behavior patterns.
At the manifestation of these poor behavior patterns, teenagers may find themselves detained with handcuffs and placed in the back of a military police car on Fort Leonard Wood, because they have chosen to break the law.
Perhaps realizing the consequences of their actions, these youth may wonder "is this it," or "will I get a second chance?"
In a sense, the Juvenile Review Board at Fort Leonard Wood may be that window of opportunity -- that second chance -- these youth hope for and want.
The Juvenile Review Board, led by the U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Tyson Goolsby, handles juvenile misconduct that occurs on post. According to Goolsby, it serves as an alternative to prosecuting the juveniles in federal or state courts.
"The ultimate goal is to handle cases of juvenile misconduct in an appropriate way, in order to teach the juvenile that what he or she did was wrong, that his or her actions had negative consequences for others, and that the juvenile must take responsibility for his or her share of the Fort Leonard Wood community," Goolsby said.
The purpose of the Juvenile Review Board is somewhat two-fold. "The JRB is important, primarily because it serves the dual purpose of protecting the community from juvenile offenders, but also offering the young men and women an opportunity to correct the wrong they did and to learn and grow from it," said Capt. Benjamin Szany, JRB legal adviser.
The Juvenile Review Board convenes on a monthly basis, and the board members hear and dispose of reported cases of youth misconduct occurring on Fort Leonard Wood, said Shawn Steen, Family Advocacy Program manager.
Appearing before the Juvenile Review Board isn't an automatic right a young person receives if he or she commits an offense on Fort Leonard Wood. It is voluntary on the youth's part and an admittance of the wrongdoing.
"The JRB only hears cases where the juvenile admits responsibility for the offense," Szany said. "In other words, there are no long trials of fact before the JRB because the most important fact, responsibility for the offense, has already been determined."
So basically, "If they select the JRB, they are admitting to having committed the offense and accepting the identified responsibility contract," Steen said.
That responsibility contract defines the punishments the offender has to adhere to, and the juvenile signs the contract, promising to complete the administrative obligations, Goolsby said.
"A responsibility contract can include terms of community service, written essays on relevant topics to the offense, e.g. bullying, shoplifting, vandalism, etc., written or in-person apologies to victims, or restitution to be paid to the victims," Szany outlined.
Goolsby goes on to say that the contract is the mechanism for the juvenile's self-improvement, and the contract obligations are intended to change the juvenile's perspective and behavior. In turn, the hope is that the juvenile offender grows from the experience, learns to be a leader not a follower, and learns to exemplify the seven core Army Values.
The JRB handles cases of minor misconduct committed by any juvenile, under the age of 18, on Fort Leonard Wood, as long as the juvenile and sponsor consent to the hearing.
"So as the JRB president, I take pride in grooming these young teenagers to become all they can be in life, whether it is in uniform or as a valuable citizen in society. We as adults have that responsibility to shape tomorrow," Goolsby said.