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Okla. lawmaker seeks juvenile vocational training

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma lawmaker says expanding vocational programs to juvenile offenders could help divert young criminals from the state prison system and ultimately save the state millions of dollars.

Broken Arrow Republican Rep. David Brumbaugh presented his proposal Thursday before the House Public Safety Committee.

Brumbaugh says he wants to expand the programs offered to juvenile offenders to include training for trades like construction, auto repair, computer technology and cosmetology. He wants to use funding from Oklahoma's Career and Technology Education system, or CareerTech, to help pay for the program, and says judges should have the discretion to force young offenders to participate in such training as part of their sentence.

Brumbaugh says evidence from other states suggests similar programs have led to dramatic declines in recidivism rates among juvenile offenders.

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