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"Alternative to jail time for young offenders:" New program would have offenders explain their actions to panel of peers

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A plan being referred to as "an alternative to jail time for young offenders" is underway in Milwaukee.

Instead of going to jail for minor crimes, offenders would have the choice of going to youth court and explaining their actions to a panel of their peers.

"We really want someone that's closer in nature to really judge you. I wouldn't want my mom to tell me or understand the things that I'm doing at this age know because I know it's just a different generation. We just see things differently," said Assistant Chief Ray Banks with the Milwaukee Police Department.

Offenders would then have to take part in activities ranging from writing an apology letter to community service without having to see a judge.

"We're trying to give youth a chance to be mature and be responsible and take accountability for their actions but also help them in the process of not repeating the same dumb mistakes," said Kalan Haywood, Advisory Board Chair. 

An Advisory Board took questions and got feedback from the community on how to make the program work.

"There's a lot of resistance especially when you're new and you're used to the traditional way to where you're getting sent to the office, sent to the guidance counselor, sent home," said Jasmine Glass, Senior, Escuela Verde.

Organizers believe the program will keep kids from turning to a life of crime and out of the court system.

"We're going to get some good stuff done, hopefully, make an impact and change some lives," said Haywood.

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