VEGAS LOST: After the election--what's next for our kids? Wolfson speaks out
LAS VEGAS (KSNV) —
They aren't old enough to vote, but our valley's kids are affected by Tuesday's primary election.
Especially those kids committing crimes. It is the subject of this edition of Vegas Lost.
Steve Wolfson has retained his seat as Clark County's District Attorney.
What does that mean for the juvenile justice system?
We sat down with the DA on what's changed, what's working, and what we can do better?
"I think our community is changing because in the old days, 20-years-ago we had this mentality of locking them up," Wolfson said.
The system is changing. Change, in large part comes from an office at the regional justice system.
Steve Wolfson has been the county's district attorney since 2012.
The year before he took over there were more than 10,000 juvenile filings in Clark County. Charges against minors.
Last year, there were 6,500. A significant decrease Wolfson says is due to a new approach.
"Its changed a lot and continues to change because we realize we want kids to stay in school. We've changed laws in the legislature in regards to zero tolerance," Wolfson told us. "There used to be a law that said certain kids who commit certain crimes would get kicked out of school. We changed that because we want kids to stay in school," he continued.
It's the idea of early intervention.
Get to at-risk kids before they commit a crime.
Wolfson says his office has done this through personnel changes and advocacy and will continue to do.
At the same time, Wolfson has watched a spike in the number of young kids committing violent crimes.
"There are more guns out there than ever before and kids are committing robberies. Some of these kids commit violent crimes and they have to enter into the system," he said.
Which brings us to a problem. There are no numbers.
Programs are being established to help rehabilitate kids.
The DA's office is rethinking which cases will get pushed to the adult court system. Which kids will go to prison but there's no real way to tell if it's working.
There's a system to track adult criminals but none for juvenile justice.
"We could improve our tracking system. Absolutely, we need a case management system in juvenile court. We're getting a new system which will aid in our tracking of adults, we could use that down here in juvenile," said Wolfson.
At the end of our conversation, we asked the DA what he thought the system would look like in five years. He told us no one wants kids in the system at all, so if they can get programs in place and keep kids in school, everyone benefits.
We want to get your thoughts on these stories and ideas for future ones. Send us an email at VegasLost@news3lv.com.