St. Louis County NAACP seeking to make reforms in juvenile justice system

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - While the events of Ferguson linger in the minds of many as the one year anniversary comes to a close, the focus of what’s actually changed in the region has been brought to light. Recently the Ferguson Commission finished their report for Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on how to make improvements in the region after hearing from citizens. At times the meetings were tense, but eventually the work moved forward. Commission member Byron Watson says a big part was changing how certain fines were handled in municipal courts.

(Byron Watson/Ferguson Commission) 'The fines and using the police officers as revenue makers that is something that i see as one of the landmark changes of how policing will move forward”.

Meanwhile a detailed 2 year report just released from the U.S. Department of Justice on cases in St. Louis County says the courts are racially biased, putting more blacks in the system.

A big problem is public defenders with excessive caseloads. John Gaskin with the St. Louis County NAACP also stopped by FOX2’s studios to discuss how the group and other attorneys are now offering up a free solution to families called AFER or Advocates for Education Reform.

(Byron Watson/Ferguson Commission)- 'Why not invest our greatest asset within our community our children if they need those services in the juvenile justice system that`s a problem. 'One of the legal professionals out there in St. Louis County Family Court she has almost 400 children that she’s working with that`s unacceptable.'

'We want to reach these kids before they get to the system and family court.'

The report from the Ferguson Commission is due to Governor Nixon by mid-September. The commission will continue working until the end of the year.

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