I dropped my kids off at science camp this morning. They gave me their usual kiss goodbye and as I watched them walk in, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of love and pride about who they are and what they are becoming. I love my children, and I have always assumed everyone else does as well.
Then I heard this story this morning:
“Meant To Keep Youths Out Of Detention, Probation Often Leads Them There”
“Juvenile justice reformers have tried for years to figure out what works to help rehabilitate youth in trouble, and a recent shift away from locking kids up has been at the forefront of reform efforts. One of the most common alternatives to incarceration is to order kids directly into probation, instead of juvenile hall”
Listen and read here: http://www.npr.org/2015/07/29/427263478/some-youths-find-probation-more-challenging-than-juvenile-detention
We know how ineffective the zero policy rules in schools work, we know that it is a slippery slope into the school to prison pipeline; and we know that a disproportionate percentage of those children are poor and/or minorities. What is worse is that the juvenile system seems to mirror the adult system: we are eating our young!
“Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly Three Years Without Trial” read here: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/10/1/accused_of_stealing_a_backpack_high
“Pennsylvania rocked by 'jailing kids for cash' scandal” read here: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/02/23/pennsylvania.corrupt.judges/
Juvenile Hall is Often No Place for Kids” read here: http://juvenilejusticeblog.web.unc.edu/2012/10/28/juvenile-hall-is-often-no-place-for-kids/
These stories go on and on
I cannot imagine my kids ever being in a situation like this, but the reality is that our current system is about punishment not rehabilitation, and certainly not justice. Kids need to be in school, learning, playing, and growing. Warehousing young minds simply creates young people with criminal records who cannot be productive in society (they are not eligible for the military either nowadays).
This story is not about the solutions at this point, I just hope you become aware of the other end of the criminal justice system, and will join in in protecting our children.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III