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Prosecutor sending kids to Boys, Girls Clubs for 2nd chances

July 3, 2021 GMT

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Marion County prosecutor has begun a pilot program that refers certain juvenile offenders to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis.

Prosecutor Ryan Mears says that instead of entering into the criminal justice system, juveniles with low-level, non-violent offenses will get a one-year standard club membership, at the prosecutor’s expense.

Mears says it’s “a second chance that connects juveniles with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis, a safe place where they experience positive interactions with adults.”

Mears says “that once children are introduced into the criminal justice system, it typically sets up a cycle of challenges and expectations that can impact their entire life.” Instead, he wants to help change behavior and give them opportunities to make better choices.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis CEO and Executive Director Maggie A. Lewis says her organization’s top focus is “providing a safe and positive environment to help our city’s youth build great futures.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs provide homework assistance, mentoring, sports and other programs.