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Mass. Juvenile Court Cases On The Decline

A sharp drop in the number of juvenile court cases in Massachusetts despite economic conditions that put additional strain on families has experts perplexed.

According to court statistics, delinquency complaints have plunged 35 percent in the past three years while cases involving troubled youth have fallen 15 percent. Abuse and neglect cases have dropped 21 percent over the past two years.

Social workers, child advocates and other experts have a variety of theories.

They tell The Boston Globe police are spending less time prosecuting minor offenses, while prosecutors are focusing more on crime prevention and sending low-level offenders to diversion programs rather than the courts.

Some say community programs that reach at-risk teenagers are keeping many out of trouble.

This program aired on December 6, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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