Don’t Repeat Errors On Juvenile Offenders
No one can say how many hardened criminals came out of West Virginia’s juvenile detention system during several years of mismanagement that seem to have ended.
While there is little or nothing that can be done about that, it is essential mistakes not be repeated.
Conditions at the old juvenile detention facilities in Salem were so bad they prompted filing of a lawsuit several years ago. Mercer County Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn presided over the proceedings.
Eventually, the state shut down the Salem facilities. Juveniles were moved elsewhere and new court-approved methods of dealing with them were established. During that period, the state Supreme Court created the Adjudicated Juvenile Rehabilitation Review Commission. Its purpose is to keep an eye on all aspects of the juvenile justice system.
This week the panel was renamed. It is now the Juvenile Justice Commission. The panel also has a new chairman – Aboulhosn.
His agreement to head the commission is a stroke of extraordinarily good luck. Aboulhosn has demonstrated he will insist on facilities where juvenile offenders can be rehabilitated – but he will not coddle them.
Serious errors in the juvenile detention system were allowed to go on for years. It is important for Aboulhosn and his commission to keep them from happening again.