UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Some southern Illinois prosecutors hope to prevent crime by early intervention.
Union County State's Attorney Tyler Edmonds says he and prosecutors in the 9 southern counties are looking for ways to keep child offenders out of the juvenile justice system.
Edmonds says when a child is sent to juvenile detention, the likelihood they'll end up back there or in adult prison is very high.
He also says juvenile detention costs more than $80,000 per year.
So at least for non-violent offenders, Edmonds says there's a better way.
"We want kids to get on the right path if they have an early encounter with the justice system, rather than put them on the road to a lifetime of incarceration," Edmonds said.
Edmonds says alternative options include working with the child and family on things like substance abuse treatment, intensive community service, and even pairing the child with the victim of their non-violent crime so they can repair the damage.
Edmonds says the idea is not to be soft on crime but to stop young offenders from leading a life of crime.