Philly Assistant DAs apply policies to help children in criminal justice system

John McDevitt
February 06, 2019 - 3:54 pm
Philadelphia Assistant District Attorneys have been trained and are applying policies to help rehabilitate - rather than incarcerate - children in the criminal justice system.

John McDevitt/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia Assistant District Attorneys have been trained and are applying policies to help rehabilitate - rather than incarcerate - children in the criminal justice system. 

"If I act out, they would put my hands behind my back and throw me on the floor," said Lilly, who talked about abuse she suffered in a detention facility. 

"Sometimes, staff played favorites and other youth would get multiple snacks or meals while I went hungry. The food was also unsafe; I found worms in my food a couple of times," the teen said.  

The ADAs have several new policies to try to get a child offender the help they need and stay in their own home if possible, rather than jail or detention .  

"The things that are most important about the polices is that they are effective and rational. They are researched tested, they are financially sound. They respect and reflect the dignity and humanity of our children" said Marsha Levick, co-founder of Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia. 

She says the policies also respect victims and will promote public safety.