The Unmaking of a Justice System 

Juvenile arrests and detentions are down across the entire state. But don't assume that's because youth crime has been reduced.

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The police department's efforts will be boosted by funds from Oakland's Measure Y, the Violence and Public Safety Act of 2004, which is allocating millions of dollars to violence-prevention programs. That, too, could have positive implications for the typically contentious relationship between police and young people. "Getting officers ... out of police cars into communities, connected to communities, and building relationships with young people so there's trust between them would make a difference over time," Youth Uprising's Simmons said.

Wiley believes that tying kids to appropriate programs is the way to keep them from slipping into a life of crime. "All our efforts in the past have been getting them after they've done something wrong," he said. "What we don't want to do is avoid the criminal justice system by saying this kid committed a robbery, it's the first one, let's not deal with it. Because we know that doesn't work, they're just going to keep going back. We have to get to them before they start committing the crimes."

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