Right on Crime signatory Newt Gingrich takes to the South Dakota press to promote reform for that state’s juvenile corrections system. His piece appeared in the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader, and comes on the heels of Senate Bill 73, bipartisan state legislation that would, in the words of Governor Dennis Daugaard, lead to “fewer youth incarcerated, with a greater emphasis on community support and accountability for the offender.”
Speaker Gingrich writes:
Think of a teenager that you love very much. It could be your child, grandchild, niece or nephew. Basically a good kid, but like most teenagers, having a tough time adjusting to the physical and emotional changes they are experiencing. He or she makes a bad decision — skips school, runs away from home, violates curfew or sneaks some alcohol.
How should the government handle these violations? Certainly there should be consequences. Young people have to learn that they need to follow the rules. But how should we teach them to follow the rules? Should we ship them away from their families to teach them a lesson, or should we try to treat them in their homes, in their communities, and teach them to become better citizens where they live?