FULTON COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Authorities in Fulton County want to intercept juvenile offenders before they graduate to the adult jail.
District attorney Paul Howard asked for and was granted funding to hire four staffers whose full-time job will be to find mentors for teens who have been arrested three times or more. Those who would qualify have been brought into the system for property crimes. Accused murderers or rapists would be exempted.
The program got support Wednesday at the Fulton County Commission meeting.
Among others, victims of past crimes spoke to say the "level up" initiative is needed.
Mike Lash, who was shot during a home invasion, told the commissioners an alternative to a life of crime has to be found.
"What they said was staggering. When they asked why they did it they said either I die or they die. And this is the type of generation we're raising," Lash says
There already exists diversion programs. Mr. Howard said what makes this one different will be the intensity of the effort.
Authorities have already identified 132 teens. Mentors will be found for each of them and counselors will visit their homes to hopefully get a parent or some other relative to "buy-in" to the initiative.