Madison police to meet with nonprofits, juvenile judges to find ways to prevent repeat arrests among local teens

Madison police

MADISON, Wis. — Nearly 100 community members reached out to a Madison police officer with recommendations for how to keep teens out of legal trouble after the officer asked for “reasonable, achievable ideas” earlier this month.

Mike Hanson, a captain with the Madison Police Department’s South District, said that he received 94 emails from the community with thoughts on how to curb youth crime. In a blog post shared on the MPD’s website, Hanson said many of the emails said the community wants the youth “to be held accountable” in some way.

According to Hanson, city leaders need to drill down to the root causes that lead to crime in order to properly reduce its prevalence in the community.

“The environments are complex as some youth battle trauma, abuse, education deficiencies, systemic racism, family evictions, unemployment and substance abuse that affect their daily lives, Could you imagine such a life? Could you imagine such a life, right here in Madison?” Hanson said in the post. “It exists and it will not get better and we will not feel safer until we drill down to these root causes.”

Hanson said his one of his biggest takeaways from the suggestions is that the community feels teens would greatly benefit from activities at a neighborhood center and youth-focused jobs in the community.

In the post, Hanson said officials from the MPD plan to meet with nonprofits, juvenile judges and other community members in the coming weeks to find solutions that would prevent repeat arrests of local teens who have gotten into legal trouble in the past.