City revises cost of shoplifting program

    Juneau, AK (KINY) It won't cost quite as much to try and get a handle on the Juneau shoplifting program.

    The City and Borough of Juneau revised the figures today on the costs downward from $100,000 to $67,000.

    The new program would use motivational interviews, one on one support services, and
     behavior therapy to end the cycle of repeat petty theft.

    The money is coming from a federal grant through the bureau of Justice Assistance.

    City Municipal Attorney Amy Mead said there is very little data on how to best address this population of offenders in a way that reduces the risk of recidivism, "Preliminary findings suggest that motivational interviewing and moral recognition therapy may be beneficial. We are hopeful that this pilot project will serve as a model for other communities struggling with the same issues.”

    The city claims shoplifting has increased dramatically over the past couple of years.  Research has shown that incarceration doesn't stop people from offending again. 

    Mead said prosecutors have had to rethink how they approach certain cases including misdemeanor property crimes.

    The one-year program – Juneau Avert Chronic Shoplifting Pilot Project – is a collaboration between CBJ Law, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribe of Alaska’s Second Chance Reentry Program and Juneau Alliance for Mental Health, Inc. Program participants will go through motivational interviews with Second Chance case managers in order to identify a small, measurable goal that they commit to achieving. The goal could be any number of things, from securing housing to filling out job applications. Participants will also go through an 8-hour shoplifting treatment therapy program through JAMHI.  The program hopes to start taking participants in October.

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