New law changes how juveniles are convicted

A new year means new laws for Georgia including new regulations that can change how juveniles are convicted, starting New Year's Day.

This new regulation called the Juvenile Justice Reform Act started back in October when a program for juveniles was put in place to send children to intensive care instead in of youth detention.

Dougherty County Juvenile Court Judge Herbie Solomon says, "24 kids have been placed in intensive counseling programs; kids who would have otherwise went to youth detention."

In addition to the philosophy from October, this new program is about deciphering what's best for kids who haven't committed a felony but considered unruly or truant.

Dougherty County District Attorney Greg Edwards says, " unruly children, truant children, children that don't go to school; those types of things are dealt with in a different manner in pursuant to the Juvenile Justice Reform Act."

That "different manner" includes placing children with these labels and in some cases their parents, into intensive care programs.

In attempt to help save juveniles with the law this new act is also helping to save money. Judge Solomon says a child in custody in Georgia, for a year, can cost up to $90,000. In most cases it's cheaper to put the child in counseling or an intensive program.

Judge Solomon adds he hopes that by placing these kids in these alternative programs the goal is for them to become more involved in school and all around better citizens.