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Status offenses are noncriminal acts that are considered law violations because the offender is a minor; status offenders in the juvenile justice system are often first-time offenders and pose low-risk to society. Status offenders become involved in the justice system primarily by displaying problem behaviors that result in school personnel or law enforcement response, which may lead to a referral to the County Attorney. Once the juvenile has been referred, they may be diverted or further entrenched in the system. Net widening occurs when low-risk youth are brought under the purview of the court and juvenile system – this punishment a) is often more severe than the crime, b) does not accurately reflect the juvenile’s risk for future offending, and c) may make it more difficult to get out of the system. Impact of net widening and formal system involvement: aggravation of juveniles’ mental health problems, promote further criminal offending, deepen the level of systeminvolvement, and increase the odds of negative outcomes as an adult. Recommended best practice standards for status offenders: 1. Non-intervention for low-risk, status offenders 2. Limiting the restrictions placed on low-risk youth in the system, as these often raise the risk of technical violations 3. Implementing evidence-based programs that focus on prevention



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