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West Virginia juvenile justice system study starts

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia panel has launched a comprehensive review of the state’s juvenile justice system.

The West Virginia Intergovernmental Task Force on Juvenile Justice held its first meeting Friday. The group is working with Pew Charitable Trusts to recommend improvements to the juvenile justice system.

The group will detail those improvements in a report due by December. The state’s two-month legislative session begins in January.

The panel reviewed court data and the juvenile justice system Friday. It will look at best practices from other states.

West Virginia nearly doubled the rate it sent youths to juvenile facilities from 1997 to 2011, a stark contrast to decreases nationwide.

The 26-member panel includes lawmakers, state and local agency officials, law enforcement and a state Supreme Court justice, among others.

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