“If someone had just asked, things might have been different,” said Mateo, a closeted, gay, gang-involved teenager in juvenile detention for committing a hate crime against a gay person. Mateo (pseudonym used to protect confidentiality) had committed a robbery at gunpoint outside a gay bar while shouting homophobic slurs at his victim.
A growing body of research, including work published here, documents harms of what is known as the school-to-prison pipeline. Evidence shows that compared to 20 or more years ago, contemporary schools are more likely to suspend students — particularly students of color — out of school for minor misbehaviors.
TBI is approximately three times more likely to occur within youth in the juvenile justice system relative to their nondelinquent peers. Therefore, we make an urgent call to action to all practitioners across the juvenile justice system to focus on TBI with evidence-driven assessment tools and interventions.
We have set up a world where we — the professionals, the middle class, the white … pick your mark of privilege — are the gatekeepers. What we should be doing is supporting communities in leading conversations about justice reforms. Families should be deciding whether we merit an invitation; not the other way around.
Our organization has just completed three straight years of doing our in-school violence and bullying prevention program in middle schools and high schools throughout the United States, reaching 9,436 youth. Data and statistics aside, we adults associated with the program learned quite a bit about youth and violence.
For prevention to succeed, those directly affected by violence, as well as those who serve them directly, must be the leaders at the table. Community members are the experts on the structural struggles and needs of their own neighborhoods. We have to ask what they need — and, even more importantly, actually listen to their answers.
Throughout the last year I’ve been back and forth between being free and being locked up. I know you weren’t there when I was a child, but you made an effort to be there in my later years.
You proved to me that you’re a good man and changed, now it’s my turn to prove to you that I’m not another juvenile statistic and I can change.
As we moved away from the “crimequake” of the ’90s and watched the juvenile crime rate fall, the fear that once pushed us off the slippery slope and into a lock ’em up frenzy was replaced by evidence-informed policymaking that emphasizes community-based solutions.
While it might not be productive to try to rank youth employment stakeholders by their importance, there’s no doubt that funders are essential, if not critical, to the success of any youth employment venture. But working effectively with them, unlike some other stakeholders, is a skill area that leaves little room for error.