Criminal justice never has worked efficiently as a one-size-fits-all model, and greater numbers of states are realizing that tailored approaches to crime and public safety are more effective and better uses of taxpayer dollars.

In Seattle, youths will oversee trials for traffic charges levied against their peers—other minors, and apply restorative justice sanctions to the cases, usually involving efforts by the defendants to recompense society and the victim for their vehicular misdeeds.

With successful completion, these youth can get the citations dismissed, keeping their records clean, as well as obtain and more hands-on understanding of how their actions affected others. The court will not deal with any sort of serious traffic incident, nor will it accept youths who do not admit their guilt.

Meanwhile, on the other coast, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution spent five days profiling drug courts in Georgia. In this section of the series, the paper described the dramatic difference between recidivism rates: state prison inmates reoffend at a rate of about 29 percent, while those graduating from a drug court only reoffended at a rate of about 7 percent. This section profiled a lifelong addict who turned it all around with a drug court program.

Customized criminal justice systems can ensure programming tailored to the defendant to truly reverse cycles of criminality, saving millions in a state’s budget and unknown quantities in the peace of mind found in safer communities.