Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

April 4, 2013

Hard to justify scrapping current ambulance service

(Continued)

But we are not aware of any great volume of complaints from Andover or anywhere else about the quality of Lawrence General’s ALS service. The service has a track record of exceptional clinical results, performing successful intubations 98 percent of the time, compared to a national average of less than 80 percent. The LGH crews arrived on the scene in Andover in an average of less than 8.5 minutes.

It seems to us that starting a new ambulance service at a time when health-care reimbursements to providers are being ratcheted down by national legislation is an unnecessary risk for taxpayers, particularly when a no-cost regional service already serves the community well.

It’s worth reconsidering when people should be tried as adults

The state legislature’s joint Judiciary Committee has two bills before it that would raise from 17 to 18 the age where young offenders could be prosecuted as adults.

While no one wants to be seen as being “soft” on crime, a persuasive argument can be made that treating 17-year-olds as full-grown adult criminals leaves them vulnerable to abuse and more likely to re-offend.

Rep. Brad Hill, who sponsors one of the bills, has cited a Northeastern University study that showed youth placed in the adult system are 34 percent more likely to be re-arrested for a violent offense than those placed in the juvenile system.

“The juvenile system is designed to get at the root causes of delinquency,” Hill argues. “Risks such as gang influence, family problems and school issues often contribute to delinquent behavior. These youth-specific issues are recognized more quickly and addressed more skillfully in the juvenile justice system.

It should be noted that we’re not talking about major crimes here. Local district attorneys would still be able to seek adult charges in serious crimes, especially those involving violence. And youthful offenders would still answer for their transgressions; they would just do it in a more appropriate setting.

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