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Study: New Rule Should Mean More Florida Kids in Diversion Programs – The Tampa Bay Times

The Caruthers Institute release its newest study on the use of juvenile civil citations in Florida. Key findings include:

  • Utilization continues to increase but more slowly than in previous years.
  • Counties that saw substantial increased utilization renegotiated memorandums of understanding.
  • More counties are moving toward pre-arrest diversion as the default tool for first-time misdemeanors.
  • Youth are approximately one-third more likely to be arrested in the community than at school, but overall eligible offenses rise during the school year.
  • Orange County increased its utilization from 43 percent to 55 percent.
  • Hillsborough, Orange, Palm Beach, Broward, and Duval Counties account for 38 percent of all juvenile arrests for household violence.
  • Hillsborough and Orange Counties account for 20 percent of all household violence-eligible arrests.
  • Orange was one of thirteen countries with a Relative Rate Index (RRI) for eligible African-American students above the state average. Black students in Orange are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for eligible offense than white students.
  • Orange County Public Schools had a 83 percent utilization rate, the fourth highest in the state.
  • Three Orange County agencies had a 100 percent utilization rate: Eatonville Police Department, the Office of the State Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, and Orange County Public Schools District Police. Ocoee Police Department had a utilization rate of 82 percent.
  • The Ninth Judicial Circuit had an overall utilization rate of 47 percent. The Orange County division had a rate of 54 percent and Osceola had a rate of 17 percent.

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