Juvenile cases boom in Cross County courts

WYNNE, AR (KAIT)- The number of juvenile cases in Cross County has doubled in the past 2 years.

Ann Hudson is a circuit judge in Cross County and says a lack of services and man power are contributing factors to this increase.

"The less money that we have to work with,"Hudson said. "And the less man power that we have, the less likelihood of being able to curb further activity."

Cross County Judge Jack Caubble said they have also noticed a change in cost.

"It's like our expenses have doubled,"Caubble said. "And in 2011 our juvenile cases cost us here in Cross County a little over $28,000, and in 2012 our juvenile cases cost us $56,800."

From January 2012 to December 2012, there have been 98 juvenile delinquent cases, 12 truancy cases, and 34 dependency neglect cases.

"The problem is we just don't have enough man power,"Hudson said. "We only have two probation officers for three counties."

Hudson said she mostly see's young people from ages 14 to 17 and crimes related to substance abuse are the most prevalent. She said she also sees a lot of repeat offenders.

"We do have repeat offenders,"Hudson said."Certainly, and those are the ones that are most troubling, and those are the ones that we try to get them into programs with our community service provider."

Hudson said a repeat offender in juvenile court most likely end up in adult criminal court.

Caubble said there will be an upcoming meeting between the county officials, school officials and court officials to figure out what to do about this growing problem.

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