Showing posts with label Juvenile Detention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Juvenile Detention. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Got Any Stories?

In the last 15 years, the juvenile detention rate has fallen 41 percent. A staggering drop, to be sure, but why? A recent article in my favorite news magazine sheds light on this welcome shift.

  • A shift in thinking about the best ways to handle young people who break the law. 
  • A sustained period of decreasing juvenile crime. 
  • Fiscal pressures on state governments that have many people – including conservatives who, in the past, espoused tough-on-crime policies – clamoring for less-expensive alternatives to mass incarceration.

I'd say the reason for the second bullet point is the spread of smart phones and video games. And the third reason seems perfectly understandable given the belt tightening that has gone on at the state level. But the first one is the reason that intrigues me the most. Why? Because any time there is a shift in thinking on an issue, the situation invariably improves.

In my local community, I've seen this shift in action. A few years ago, we had some trouble with Somali youths. The police engaged the community rather than cracking skulls and created some programs geared towards their culture. They also created some community events specifically for younger immigrants to get excited about how much it is to live in America. These involved athletic events and, yes, a video game swap. The result? No more Somali youth problem.

I'd bet there are stories like this around the country. Got any?