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Fund youth courts

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Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012 11:56 pm

Letter to the editor

Oct. 21, 2012

To the editor:

The article I read today regarding Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan’s call to pull city funding for the Anchorage Youth Court was very disturbing.

As a proud attorney, judge and clerk in the North Star Youth Court in Fairbanks for seven years, I can attest to the value of this type of program in a community. Some of the best members of the youth bar association (and some of my best friends in the program) came through originally as offenders and became outstanding and highly achieving young people after volunteering in the program.

The skills I learned while I was in the program are invaluable, and I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t had those experiences.

Additionally, with a recidivism rate of only about 7 percent during my years there, I know we saved the people of Fairbanks some considerable time and money by keeping juvenile offenders out of the traditional juvenile court system, out of police holding cells and out of correctional facilities in the city.

I would urge local politicians to not make the same mistake Mayor Sullivan is making in Anchorage and continue to support the North Star Youth Court. I also would like to thank the city of Fairbanks and other folks and organizations who have been steadfast supporters of the NSYC for years for all your help with keeping the program running.

Do your part, Fairbanks: Support Youth Court.

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