Dougherty Juvenile Judge sees increasing numbers of gun burglaries - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty Juvenile Judge sees increasing numbers of gun burglaries

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County's Juvenile Judge says he is seeing an alarming increase in kids charged with burglary, gun possession, and violent crime in his court.   And he says state budget cuts are hurting his efforts to punish young people.

Judge Herbie Solomon told the Albany Gang Task Force he has heard 59 burglary cases involving juveniles already this year, compared to 63 in all of 2008. He says even more alarming, those young burglars are targeting guns in those thefts, not fearing the legal punishment if caught.

Dougherty Juvenile Court Judge Herbie Solomon says  "It is a big concern that we have children that have guns on the streets. Unfortunately if a child has a gun on the streets, that is treated as a misdemeanor. In my opinion the Legislature needs to address that issue."

Judge Solomon said state budget cuts have closed two youth detention centers, boot camps, and wilderness camps where juveniles would serve short term sentences. He says that limits the sentencing choices he has, and kids on the streets know about the punishment limitations they face.

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