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DYS Defends Day Pass After Teen's Murder

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BOSTON — The commissioner of the state Department of Youth Services (DYS) is defending the department's "day pass" program after a teenager prosecutors say was out on a pass was charged with murder.

Because juvenile records are not public, DYS Commissioner Jane Tewksbury won't comment about Ricardo Arias, who's accused of fatally shooting 18-year-old Alex Sierra in the South End Saturday.

Prosecutors say Arias was committed to DYS custody nine months ago and was released on a day pass Saturday to attend a Red Sox game. Tewksbury says the passes are part of preparing youths for release.

"It's been a very successful process in preparing a youth to return to the community," she said.

Tewksbury says one out of three DYS-held youth are arrested as adults within a year of their release.

This program aired on September 7, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Deborah Becker Twitter Host/Reporter
Deborah Becker is a senior correspondent and host at WBUR. Her reporting focuses on mental health, criminal justice and education.

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