August 17, 2013 – Judge H. Mark Preyer, Associate Circuit Judge, Division III was recently profiled in the news for his recent contributions to juvenile justice. Preyer has implemented several new procedures and operations in the juvenile court system. Particularly effective has been the use of ankle bracelet monitoring devices which are placed around the ankles of juveniles who are placed on probation. This is a strong discouragement for juveniles to continue to engage in criminal acts. Preyer explained:
The ankle bracelets work off both cell telephone towers and the GPS system. It tells the supervising probation officer where the juvenile is located 24 hours a day, and can track his history of travel from the date the bracelet is installed. Thus, the juvenile knows if he considered engaging in criminal activity, the bracelet would show his location, and prove if they were part of the crime.
One Preyer has considered most beneficial is a monthly meeting with the superintendents of the seven school districts in Dunklin County during the school year. Preyer noted:
This really helps my office and the juvenile office stay current on what issues are arising in the school systems and opens a line of communication to make both our jobs and the superintendents jobs more efficient.This is something we will certainly continue in the future.
Another program implemented by Preyer involves the responsibility of parents for the actions of their children. He explained:
When a juvenile damages property or causes personal injury, a parent can be made financially liable up to a maximum of $4,000.00 for the damages caused by the child. We have been very aggressive in pursuing judgements against parents for the acts of their children in an effort to encourage more responsibility and supervision.
Preyer has also implemented restitution work programs wherein the juvenile can do community service or can be required to work as direct restitution for a victim of the juvenile’s delinquent act.
Preyer enjoys the opportunity to make a difference in the system. He gives credit to the work and experience of Tommy Campbell, Chief Deputy, Juvenile Officer, and to Mr. Campbell’s staff. Preyer also credits the Children’s Division for all the hard work in investigating allegations of abuse and neglect to children as well as implementing a stronger foster home program in Dunklin County.Preyer also credits the Children’s Division for all the hard work in investigating allegations of abuse and neglect to children as well as implementing a stronger foster home program in Dunklin County.
Quite frankly, I could not do this without their hard work, and I am sure this is true with any Judge in our State.The Children’s Division workers and the foster parents are an integral part of our system, and without them, the children who suffer abuse and neglect would not be served.
Preyer closed by explaining the reason for his years of service to the community:
I was once told that the most important obligations that an individual has to his community is to make it better place when he leaves it than when he arrived. I recognize the opportunities I have were created by the efforts of individuals who lived in Dunklin County over the past years, who worked, paid taxes, and volunteered personal time to make the community, county, and state a success. I hope I am repaying at least some of the past work and contributing in some way to making that available for the next generation.
Source: Daily Dunkin Democrat
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