COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Some law enforcement in Franklin County are calling our criminal justice system broken. They say that is to blame for the recent uptick in juvenile crime.

Juvenile court leaders say changes are on the way and it will take more than just them to stop this. Right now, the juvenile court system is based more on rehabilitation rather than incarceration.

Jeff Simpson, President of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge 9, said that isn’t working. He said the courts are going to have to be tougher on kids to end the crime.

“Unfortunately, the criminal justice system here in Franklin County is choosing to coddle these kids and treat them as victims. They need to step up and be a parent and make them realize that there are consequences for bad behavior,” Simpson said.

This issue has been in the spotlight specifically following an incident where a 14-year-old boy was involved in two stolen car crashes in two weeks – one of those two other kids were killed. Simpson said no one wants to take away the future of a teenager. But, if that threat is what these kids need to get them to stop committing adult crimes, he said that’s what the courts need to do.

“Whether that’s incarceration, whether that’s a program, but it’s got to be hand in hand. It can’t just be one or the other. It has to be something that makes them blink and go, ‘Oh I don’t want that,’” Simpson said.

Judge George Leach, the lead juvenile judge in Franklin County, said right now they use a point system to determine the severity of the child’s case and decide if they should be held in the detention center or released.

“Based on the individual’s past, current crime, alleged crime and probation factors those numbers are all added up,” Leach said.

Judge Leach said they are looking into changing the scoring system specifically for crimes like auto theft. He said as for the statement that kids don’t take the courts seriously, there is a lot more that goes into it than people think. Leach said they still can’t hold everyone since they are a detention facility not a jail. So no matter what they will have to prioritize.

“It may look that way that a juvenile with a felony four for a felony five seems to come in and their consequence is minimal because they have just stolen a car or were a passenger in a stolen car. But you just don’t lock them up for years because of those charges,” Leach said.

Judge Leach said that the 14-year-old boy is being held in the detention center this time around. Leach said the changes are geared specifically toward cases like his.

Leach said after the first crash, he was hospitalized and even though there was a warrant out for his arrest they couldn’t take him into the facility. He said their scoring system is designed for the most serious of crimes. Leach said they never want to hold a kid but if it needs to be done they will.

Leach said car thefts are usually considered to be non-violent so it will lead to a lower score. However, in recent weeks these so called lower level crimes are leading to high scoring crimes like car crashes and death. He said the changes they are planning on making are geared toward the kids who seem to have no regard for the consequences.

“They’re coming in on one charge, being released three hours later and then cutting off the monitor and coming out and committing a new crew. So that too will have a different scoring system. It will be an added point if they have to come back, especially within a second day,” Leach said.

Leach said he is planning to talk with law enforcement, community partners and community members about what changes they hope to see. He said they do have monthly meetings with these people but the next few will be important.