Proposed youth ordinance could put more responsibility on parents

Updated: Jun. 19, 2019 at 10:59 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Montgomery City Council member wants to hold parents accountable for their children’s crimes. The proposed ordinance is currently under review now by the city’s legal department.

Glenn Pruitt, Montgomery councilman for District 8, isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel with this ordinance he’s introduced. He modeled the proposal after one introduced last year in South Fulton, Georgia.

“A lot of our crime that is committed at night per our police department at one of my neighborhood meetings is being done by juveniles,” said Pruitt.

Pruitt says he’s contacted very often by people in the community about break-ins thefts and other crimes perpetrated by teenagers in the area.

“We have to do something. We can’t continue to ignore the problem," said Pruitt. “People are so tired. They want some accountability. Some of these juveniles don’t even make it to the detention facility. Our police department gets tired of locking up little Johnny 10 or 15 times.”

As part of his proposed ordinance parents would be responsible for their kids actions. Drug and alcohol possession or use, firearms, failure to observe curfew, truancy, improper supervision, property damage and theft are all punishable under the rule. Penalties range from fines not to exceed $100 to jail time of up to 10 days.

“Certain circumstances require other things. Somebody could go to parenting class, somebody could do community service. Parents have to know where their kids are at, period, point-blank," said Pruitt.

Montgomery resident Kaderrious Barnes, a father of three, doesn’t feel like this is fair.

“I don’t think they should get punished for something that they pretty much don’t know about," said Barnes.

But some other residents are on the fence about it.

“When it comes to truancy in the school system parents should be more liable, but as far as the drugs, alcohol, and crime, if I’ve done something my mom did a good job raising me, I don’t thing she should be punished," said Rodney Wilkerson.

“No matter how you raise them they still going to do what they want to do. To me it just depends on what it is," said Shirley Anderson.

If the ordinance moves forward after the review by the legal team Pruitt says there will still lots of work to be done before it is brought before the council for a vote.

“What I want to do is with the committee we would ask the circuit judges and police chief to come down and lets openly talked about this ordinance and what makes sense and what doesn’t. At the end of the day they will have to make the final decision. We go from there to get community input,” said Pruitt.

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