Dallas County Holds “Day of Pardon” for Misdemeanor Warrants

Posted March 14, 2012, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Dozens of juveniles attended the second Dallas County, Texas "Day of Pardon" on January 28 and some of those youth had misdemeanor warrants cleared, thus avoiding unnecessary incarceration.

Dallas County’s Juvenile Probation Department and District Attorney’s Office allowed youth aged 10 to 17 to have misdemeanor warrants for technical violations recalled. Youths having warrants recalled promised to appear in court within three business days.

"This is a way for us to say, ‘We know you’re out there, and we want to help you,’" Terry Smith, director of the Dallas County Probation Department, told the Dallas Morning News. "But you’re still not getting off scot-free."

Dallas County held a similar amnesty in 2008. The goal is to allow low-level offenders a chance to resolve probation violation warrants without worrying about arrest. Removing the threat of arrest also allows youth to attend school, return home, and apply for work.

The event drew about 40 youth. Youth met with officials with the Dallas school district’s Student Services Department before having warrants cleared. They also met with officials from a GED program offered by Goodwill Industries and with representatives from other programs.

"Just because you’re truant doesn’t mean you’re a thug or a gangster. It means there’s other issues going on," Hugo Peart, the school district’s coordinator of juvenile justice, told the Dallas Morning News.

For more information, contact Mike Lindsey.

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