MILLERSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) —The Fresh S.T.A.R.T program in Anne Arundel County, implemented in the county’s eastern district has proven its effectiveness already so the rest of the county is following suit.

Team leaders of the new initiative say it is a way to disrupt the ‘school to prison’ pipeline. Cpl M. LeVere said low level offenses like, “second degree assault, disorderly conduct, destruction of property, marijuana less than 10 g, as well as trespassing,” could be forgiven if the juvenile agrees to partaking in the program.

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With a 50% decrease in juvenile arrests since January 1,2021, parents are writing in to express their gratitude for the program.

Students, maybe headed down the wrong path, are redirected by SRO’s, patrol officers or community leaders so that the mistake they make does not condemn them for the rest of their lives.

“Sometimes our young folks make bad decisions, even destructive decisions at times and  these can be learning experiences and that’s what the fresh start program is all about,” said Anne Arundel County School Superintendent Dr. George Arlotto.

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Once in the program, each student is assigned a counselor, mentor, support group, etc to help them reach their goals. It takes more than 6 months to complete and the student is given support and resources throughout their time with the program.

Some criminal offenses are serious enough to result in charges, but the goal is to help kids stay out of the criminal justice system by giving them resources to help them succeed.

“Here’s to a fresh start for Anne Arundel county and our young people.” Chief Awal Amad said.

Here is where you can find the link for youth services.

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Note: This story was originally published on March 30, 2021 and has been updated. 

Rachael Cardin