A Clayton County judge says keeping kids in school all the way to graduation should take priority over prosecuting minor offenses.

On Tuesday, the Mercer Law School held a panel discussion to talk about cutting youth crime in Bibb County.

Clayton County Judge Steven Teske says their circuit has been successful in this area.

Teske says instead of putting the kids in jail, they try to give the kids a "slap on the wrist and help get them on the right path with some positive reinforcement".

"The more kids you graduate, the fewer crimes there will be. Consequently what happened was as the graduation rates increased 24 percent, our delinquent filings are down 75 percent -- nearly 50 percent are felony offenses, so we have that many fewer kids committing serious crimes in Clayton County," he said.

"The kids become more productive, they have a higher degree of success and when they are more likely to graduate high school and get a job and to be successful, then they're not going to commit crimes. Essentially what we are working towards is growing strong children so we don't have to fix broken adults," said Bibb District Attorney David Cooke.

Cooke says he's looking forward to using the Clayton County model in an effort to make a difference in Bibb.