The Times-Union reported today that the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has committed to increase its use of juvenile civil citations in lieu of arresting juveniles for certain minor nonviolent crimes. Civil citations are issued in appropriate cases as an alternative to arrest for juvenile misdemeanor offenders. Instead of being arrested and then subjected to juvenile delinquency sanctions, which may include residential commitment programs, juveniles issued civil citations will be directed to a restorative justice process.
The commitment was made at a recent meeting of the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment (ICARE) by Undersheriff Pat Ivey. The Sheriff’s Office commitment includes working with ICARE to create a public announcement about the civil citation program and with the State Attorney’s Office to increase the use of citations in battery cases where the victim was not injured, such as minor “schoolyard fights.” The goal of ICARE is to bring Duval County more in line with Florida Department of Juvenile Justice statistics showing that while less than 33 percent of its eligible youth receive civil citations, state-wide that average is 43 percent.