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January 30, 2015

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Juvenile offenders work off their sentences with a variety of community services


Ethan Miller / Las Vegas Sun

Matt Riddle, left, Juven Coronado, center, and Philip Elemile build a memorial for their friend Alberto Puig, 16, on southbound Interstate 15, Tuesday, March 21, 2000. On Sunday, March 19, 2000, Puig was one of six teen workers picking up trash in the median who were killed when they were struck by a minivan driven by 20-year-old Jessica Williams. The teens were picking up trash as part of a program administered by the Clark County Department of Family and Youth Services to atone for minor crimes.

In 2000, several local teens were picking up trash along Interstate 15 while working off sentences for Juvenile Court infractions. Jessica Williams, 20, under the influence of drugs, fell asleep at the wheel and plowed into the teens on the highway median. Six died, five at the scene and another hours later at University Medical Center. Since then, picking up trash along the highway is no longer a community service performed by youths. In addition to the clean up of foreclosed homes as reported in today’s Las Vegas Sun, these are some of the community services implemented by the Clark County Juvenile Justice Services Department for offenders working off their court-ordered sentences:

    • Tent City
      Photo by Leila Navidi

      Homeless Connect

      Project Homeless Connect, formerly the Homeless Stand Down, is an annual event coordinated and sponsored by various Southern Nevada organizations. Aimed to give the homeless the help and hope they need to get off the streets, the event setup and cleanup is assisted by youth performing community service.

    • downtown crime
      Photo by Leila Navidi

      National Night Out

      There’s no better place for a juvenile offender to be than at a crime prevention party. At “National Night Out: America’s Night Out Against Crime,” teens assist with setup and cleanup of various events across the valley.

    • Three Square turkey shortage
      Photo by Tiffany Brown

      Thanksgiving basket delivery

      If you were a senior citizen selected by Clark County to receive a Thanksgiving food basket, chances are your delivery person was a youth performing community service. Teens under the direction of Kevin Niday of the Gang Intervention Team delivered more than 100 baskets last November.

    • Neighborhood Watch
      Photo by Christopher DeVargas

      Neighborhood Pride Zones

      Neighborhood Pride Zones were created for communities to organize and interact with neighbors and county government. Grants of up to $1,000 are available with a 100 percent match. The money can be used for neighborhood cleanup and landscaping, cultural awareness, health, safety, recreational and educational programming. Youths are involved in the cleanup and landscaping and assist with painting house numbers on the curbs.

    • North End of the Strip
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      Graffiti abatement

      Clark County’s graffiti abatement program assists with the removal of graffiti from residential properties. Upon request, the county will provide paint so property owners can cover minor graffiti vandalism, and assist with removal when graffiti vandalism is extensive. The program requires property-owner permission before graffiti can be removed or covered.

    • Green Lawn
      Photo by Heather Cory

      Senior advocate

      The Clark County senior advocate program coordinates and disseminates information on providing assistance to valley seniors who are unable to perform yard work. Those who need moving services can request assistance from the county and may find that a group of teens shows up to do the job.

    • Bone Marrow Drive
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      Clark County community and recreational centers

      When a center hosts an event such as a community Easter egg hunt, it calls on juveniles to perform cleaning, yard work and various tasks to assist before and after the events.

    • Mount Charleston snow
      Photo by Steve Marcus

      Camp Lee

      Summer camps are offered for children and teens at Camp Lee Canyon at Mount Charleston. The camp was hit by several snowstorms last year and some caused trees to fall in the area. Youth were sent to assist with the cleanup and help move logs.

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    1. Thank You Las Vegas Sun, for publishing the other avenues that youth on probation are performing their community service. This is an important component in the public's understanding towards their perception of the Department of Corrections, and its many branches, and why it is important to not haphazardly CUT budgets without knowing how this will effect the public outside prison walls.

      Sometimes, all these people ever needed was a chance in our society. It is far harder and more costly to deal with people in this condition rather than our society be proactive.

    2. Let the little criminals try this... Have them paint over the graffiti that they or their cohorts painted. Pick up the trash in the empty lots that are full of paper, plastic bottles, and nameless other items. I know this will rehab. them. ha. Now try this... use a cane and see how many little criminals, wants to commit a crime then.