“Terrence was 16 when he and three other teens attempted to rob a barbeque restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida. Though they left with no money and no one was injured, Terrence was sentenced to die in prison for his involvement in that crime.” —Cara H. Drinan, “The War on Kids”
In 2012, the U.S. Attorney General appointed a national task force on children exposed to violence that concluded, “Nowhere is the impact of incarceration on vulnerable children more obvious than when it involves solitary confinement.” This statement still holds true and solitary confinement bears an even heavier impact on incarcerated youth today.
If you are a young person in Los Angeles County who feels angry, has poor grades or disrespects authority, you might be “recruited” to voluntarily work with a probation officer and receive services — as long as you’ve never been on probation before.
Sheriff Chipp Bailey, of Mecklenburg County, N.C., has confirmed to JJIE his office received a $10,000 donation from the producers of “Beyond Scared Straight” following the appearance of the county’s “Reality Program” on the controversial A&E television show. Bailey said the money, provided by Arnold Shapiro Productions, would be used to offset the costs of the food and field trips that are part of the aftercare portion of the “Reality Program.” It is unclear whether the producers have made similar payments to other programs filmed for “Beyond Scared Straight”. The “Reality Program” is designed, according to Bailey, to educate at-risk youth on the realities of prison life and help them avoid making decisions that would land them in jail. In the initial portion of the program, teens are brought to the county jail, and dressed in prison uniforms while deputies intimidate, yell at and berate them.
Chad Hepler’s story of addiction began when he was 14 years old. What started as a search for social acceptance and a hit of marijuana culminated in a parent-led intervention and stint at a wilderness treatment center. “Marijuana IS a gateway drug,” he said. “I don’t care what anybody says.”
His drug use may have started with marijuana, but soon began to regularly include alcohol and experiments with other substances. Hepler may have found what he was looking for at a young age, but the lifestyle was anything but sustainable.
ORLANDO, Fla, – Frontline practitioners working on gang prevention, intervention and suppression are gathered this week for the National Gang Symposium in Orlando, Fla. For prevention, think of the Boys & Girls Club. For intervention, think of the Los Angeles-based Homeboy Industries, whose motto is “nothing stops a bullet like a job.” And for suppression, well, of course, think of the police. The number crunchers from the National Gang Center, using their own just released data, are telling symposium attendees today that gangs remain a substantial problem in the nation. However, gang levels are lower than the peak levels in the mid-1990s, and law enforcement agencies reported gang activity in their jurisdictions at about the same levels for five straight years – all this during a time when overall violence is way down.