Peninsula: Fewer juveniles facing criminal charges

Fewer juveniles are seeing the inside of a courtroom as a defendant in Jefferson and Clallam counties.

According to statistics released last week, the number felony and misdemeanor charges filed against juveniles in Jefferson County is projected this year to be less than half of what it was three years ago.

“It’s been a fairly noticeable trend,” said Jefferson County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas, who handles juvenile cases.

The number of charges brought against juveniles last year were at their lowest level since 1994.

The number of filings dropped from 196 in 1999, to 167 in 2000, down to 133 in 2001, according to court records.

And three-quarters of the way through this year — at the end of August — there had been only 55 charges filed against juvenile offenders, court records show.

At that rate, fewer than 75 juveniles will be charged this year in Jefferson County.

The decline in juvenile court cases follows a decline in juvenile arrests.

Arrests have declined in Jefferson County from 433 arrests in 1999, to 364 in 2000 and to 304 in 2001, records show.

That’s not the case in Clallam County, where more juveniles are being arrested, but fewer are heading to court.

Arrests have increased from 678 in 1998 to 845 in 1999 to 831 in 2000, Clallam County Juvenile Services figures show.

Figures weren’t available for last year.

In Clallam County, there were 657 charges filed against juveniles in 1998, compared to 546 in 1999, 450 in 2000, and 434 last year in Clallam County.

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The rest of the story appears in the Tuesday Peninsula Daily News. Click on SUBSCRIBE to get the PDN delivered to your home or office.

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