- Associated Press - Sunday, July 5, 2015

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) - Funding is running out in New Bedford and Fall River for a program that allows some kids under age 17 who have committed low-level offenses to have punishment set by their peers.

The Standard-Times reports (https://bit.ly/1CUubdf) the Youth Court program’s parent organization says it has stopped taking new referrals and laid off six staffers.

Carl Alves, executive director of Positive Action Against Chemical Addiction, says a three-year federal grant is expiring at the end of September, and the program needs $100,000 to continue. New Bedford Rep. Antonio Cabral has filed a bill for long term state funding.

Young people are referred by schools, police, and prosecutors and agree to plead guilty and accept sentences to do community service of between 10 and 100 hours. Middle and high school students serve as the courts’ lawyers and jury.

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Information from: The (New Bedford, Mass.) Standard-Times, https://www.southcoasttoday.com

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