A program intended to keep young offenders "close to home" has apparently backfired, according to court documents cited by the New York Daily News.
The goal is to keep low-level offenders closer to family and services, and ultimately reduce recidivism, by placing them in group homes in the city, rather than prisons upstate.
But court documents apparently show that low security at these group homes has resulted in underage convicts bolting to the streets.
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"The problems identified in this decision should be addressed promptly before tragedy befalls a juvenile or an innocent citizen," wrote Queens Family Court Judge John Hunt.
About one in four of the kids enrolled in the program was missing in early March: 50 participants at once.
Eight of the missing teens were arrested for new crimes.
Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat