Troubled kids treated differently depending on residence

Troubled kids treated differently depending on residence
(Source: Raycom Media)

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH (WOIO) - A recent review found the scales of justice slightly unbalanced in the juvenile courts in Cuyahoga County.

In an alarming admission from Cuyahoga County officials, 50 percent of kids in trouble in the suburbs enter into a diversion program and 50 percent get community service and are not prosecuted, compared to just 7 percent of kids who live in Cleveland and get community service.


and judges want to even out the playing field for all kids in trouble -- no matter where they live.

"The suburban cases got a better deal than the Cleveland cases, which was pointed out to us a year ago or so, and we figured out there was an inequity in the charging system," explained Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty.

In the past, suburban kids would go through the courts intake division that's spread across the county. City kids would go straight to the prosecutor's office and get hit more often with criminal charges.

Now all kids will go through one door at the Juvenile Court's Intake and Diversion Unit, and be recommended community service or prosecution. 

"It is written in the juvenile rules, we are supposed to be diverting kids if we can. Every kid should be kept out of the system if that is possible, based on the seriousness of their charge and criminal history with the court," said juvenile court judge Kristen Sweeney.

This will also help prosecutors identify violent teen offenders quicker, and keep those kids off the streets. 

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