It's become a war on the streets, teens shooting at each other seemingly every week in Augusta.
In fact, Richmond County Sheriff, Richard Roundtree admits there is a gang problem here.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree says, "Anytime you have a group of young of young people arming themselves and killing each other, you have a problem. And we do have a gang problem here in Richmond County, but we're trying to take every step we can to address that."
That's why the sheriff wants to launch a Juvenile offender intake program. A curriculum designed to change the mindset of gang members and first-time juvenile offenders.
Roundtree says "About two months ago, they approached us, and said can we work together in lieu of the Juvenile reform act, that they had some money in legislation that was diverted from detention to intervention. So we partnered with them, and we designed a program based on what was happening in Richmond County."
The program would be designed to show participants the consequences of continued destructive behavior. Each participant would be dressed in an inmate uniform and required to perform a community service project.
Roundtree says they'll even have to live off jail food for the day.
"Hopefully we can change their lifestyles; a lot of people think this is a scare kids straight program. It's not. We want to let them know the consequences of bad choices. Ultimately it can lead to prison, ultimately it can lead to death."
Although the program is in the beginning stages-it will accept 10 students at a time, every Saturday. Deputies will volunteer their time to set up mentoring sessions with other offenders inside the jail cell.
Sheriff Roundree explains, "There's nothing mandated through the state, it's just us saying hey we work in this county --what can we do together to try to impact these juveniles lives.
The juvenile court system will select candidates for the program based on each case.
No matter the costs-Roundtree hopes this will be a life changing series for all teens.
Sheriff Richard Roundtree says they are waiting on more funding from the Juvenile Court system in order to officially launch the program. We will let you know when that program is starting.
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