My dad worked in juvenile probation for more than 40 years. All my life he’s shared stories about young people who committed crimes. Most had made a mistake, sometimes a big mistake, but my dad would rarely call a young person walking in the courthouse the first time a criminal.
He’d say they were young people at a crossroads – one road leading down a path of recidivism and trouble, the other to restoration and a law-abiding future. He truly believed most kids fell into the latter group.
That’s why I was glad to be able to help craft Act 153 that makes the default venue for youthful offenders aged 16 and 17 juvenile court rather than adult criminal court as is currently the case. This is important for three reasons. First, juvenile court offers more restorative and rehabilitative options than adult court. Second, it reduces the chances a young person will become lumped together with more hardened adult criminals. Third, records in juvenile court are sealed and will not stick with the person for the rest of his or her life, dogging the person in future job searches.
State prosecutors will still have the discretion to move the most serious cases to adult court to ensure public safety and administer proper justice to the most dangerous young offenders.
Ten years from now, because of this law, hundreds of Vermonters will have been treated like the still-developing kids they are, and will have been given the chance to turn down the better road when they make that first mistake.
Another successful book sale
Thank you to the dozens of volunteers who put in hours sorting, moving, selling and repacking books for our annual Friends of the Library book sale. This year we raised approximately $7,300 after expenses. The funds will be used to support library collections and programs. Every year we are asked, “Where do remainders [of books] go?” We give our remainders to Better World Books. For the second year, we sent 6 1/2 pallets (about 280 boxes) of books by freight truck to Better World Books. Better World Books is a “B Corporation,” a private company with a charitable cause built into their business model. They pay the freight charges and send us standard sized boxes for packing. Better World Books then sells the books online and a portion of sales goes back to communities to support literacy programs and libraries. It’s a win-win for all.
Marti Fiske, Director
Dorothy Alling Memorial Library