VEGAS LOST: Addressing issues within our justice system

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Vegas Lost.png

Violent crime touches every corner of this valley, and the suspects are getting younger. Tonight we start asking: Why?

“He said you can always make changes when you’re young. He also said there’s going to come a time when it's too late to change.” The voice is young. It belongs to a 16-year-old whose identity we can’t share.

He’s reading a letter to Judge William Voy in family court.

Voy will decide whether the young teen will go to an adult prison or live with his aunt in San Diego. He’s been in front of the judge before.

An hour later, another young teen describes the moment he riffled through a bag while another teen held someone at gunpoint.

“I was walking to the Heights and when I went around the corner, he was there robbing somebody," the teen said.

These two kids are part of what officials call a troubling trend. More young offenders are committing violent offenses.

Judge William Voy described the trend in his courtroom: “We’re dealing with kids, they have no prior referrals to our system and they’re coming here with multiple armed robberies. That’s something I haven’t seen much.”

Now News 3 investigates why.

We talk to those young kids, the officials tasked with rehabilitating them, and the people in our community stepping up to solve the problem.

They are stories of our community and a generation of kids at risk of being lost to crime.

News 3 will cover two unique stories each week on Mondays and Thursdays. The stories will address some of the issues with our justice system, including lack of resources, kids being sent out of state where they don't get visits from parents, and kids being placed in potentially dangerous situations.

These kids will eventually be back in the community. The question is: What kind of people will they be when they get here?

We don’t really know if what the courts are doing is working. The state does not keep any record of these kids after they turn 18, so if they go through a program and re-offend in their 20s, it’s hard to track.

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