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Offline cmack

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Richland County SC Scared Straight Jail Program
« on: January 06, 2012, 12:44:14 AM »
http://www.thecolumbiastar.com/news/201 ... ional.html

RCSD goes national

Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s READY program airs on A&E

By Julia Rogers Hook


In 2010, a story was published in The Columbia Star about the Richland County Sheriff ’s Department’s program for troubled teens that imitates a night in jail. The teens are brought to the Sheriff ’s Department by parents who are frustrated and feel like their children are headed for trouble or worse…. going to jail for real.

Headed by Investigator Gerald Walls, the program is called the READY program, an acronym for Richland (County) Educating And Deterring Youth. The basic idea is to give problem teens a taste of what jail is like before it becomes a reality. The department does it twice a month, one time with male teens and one time with female teens. Walls said there is no difference in the treatment of the kids. Boys and girls alike are still treated as prisoners.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said that when he started the program he wanted it to be tough, but he also wanted the area youth to realize the community and the police cared about their well-being.

The officers working with the kids in the READY program do not treat it as a trial run. An actual arrest is imitated from the handcuffing and searching of the teens to traveling in a paddy wagon to a real jail cell at the court house and all that goes with it. “ It’s not just about locking them up and leaving them to the justice system,” Lott said. “It’s about helping to get them on the right track. This program, under Investigator Walls, has proven to be invaluable for the students in the county.”

And the agenda is clearly working because earlier this year, the program grabbed the attention of A& E’s series “Beyond Scared Straight” producers, and they ran a segment of Columbia’s version on their nationally aired show.

“ When they got in touch with me, they said they had found us online,” Walls said. “ They came down here in April to see what we did, and then they decided to run it.”

The segment ran December 8 and showed troubled male teens spending a terrifying night in jail with the participating deputies doing their best to show exactly how hard institutional life can be. Now, the RCSD and Investigator Walls is receiving calls from across the country from other law enforcement agencies that want help starting a similar program in their area and even some from parents themselves who want to send their children to Richland County.

“It’s amazing…I got a call from a mother in California who wanted to bring her daughter to our program,” Walls mused. “This morning a detective in Wyoming called and wants our help in starting up a program there. Parents are willing to fly themselves and their kids across the country to do this program. I guess it just shows how many parents are frustrated and at their limit.”

Sheriff Lott said he was pleased with the national reaction to the show and the READY program.

“ To have so many parents and other agencies interested in what we are trying to accomplish lets us know that we are on the right track in saving our youth one by one with each session we conduct,” the sheriff said.

The RCSD program is one of the toughest out there as most deterrent programs just involve a visit to a jail and maybe speaking with inmates.

“ The difference in our program is that, as far as I know, we are the only program that keeps the kids overnight,” Walls said. “ We do have a program that just takes the kids to talk to the inmates as well, but the READY program is intense and intended to really scare these kids.”

Walls said the point is to reach the kids before they get into serious trouble.

“A lot of these kids are not really bad kids,” said Walls. “ They may be from a single parent home, or they may have hooked up with the wrong crowd. The purpose of our program is to make them realize that the paths they are choosing are not necessarily the paths they want to take.”

To get the teens into the READY program, parents have to agree to drop them off at the Sheriff ’s Department and leave them there overnight. They sign a permission slip and pay $10 to cover the uniforms and food for the night. And then the parent must leave the kids, often with both the parent and child in tears.

“It’s not an easy thing to do because we explain to the parents that it will be a tough night,” Walls said. “But one night of a mock arrest can prevent years of real nights in jail. These parents are at the end of their ropes.”

The officers working with these kids do not treat it as a trial run at all though. An actual arrest is imitated from the handcuffing and searching of the teens to traveling in a paddy wagon to a real jail cell at the court house and all that goes with it.

The officers are waiting for the kids to arrive and are bellowing out orders that echo in the parking garage of the jail as the teens are hurried out of the paneled van while still in cuffs. No one is smiling, and it all seems real. If a teen cracks a smile or tries to act tough, one of the officers will quickly end it, as can be seen on the A&E show.

There’s a scene where a teen is told to do a sitting squat against the wall. He makes the mistake of telling RCSD Officer Kelvin Griffin “This hurts man.”

Griffin gets close to the teen and screams into his ear.

“ I ain’t your ‘man’ and you don’t call me ‘man’ do you understand me? Do you?”

The teens are told they are to answer with only ‘yes sir/ mam’ or no sir/mam’ and deputies do another search before the kids are given prison jumpsuits and are put through rigorous calisthenics and assessments. They speak to counselors who try to get them to tell them why they are acting like they are. Most of the time the crime is as simple as ditching school or breaking curfew.

“If we can get them before they move on to bigger mistakes or get caught for smoking pot or stealing CDs, then we have a really good chance of making an impression that can really change their lives,” Walls said.

Lott said that he hears good things from a lot of people involved in the program.

“I think the success stories we hear from both the parents and the students themselves tell the story,” he said.

One of the main requirements of the night is that each teen write a letter of apology to their parent or parents.

“ We want them to admit what they have done wrong,” Walls said. “ We want them to realize why they are there.”

Nothing is sugarcoated through- out the night in jail. They are roused from a troubled sleep in a solitary cell on a bench that serves as bed, table, and chair. On the A& E show one teen is shown pacing the small walking area before he finally tries to lie down and sleep the night away. A few minutes later the lights flash on and officers raid all the cells to get the boys up to once again work out.

“It’s to show that in jail, time is not your own,” Walls said. “In jail your life is not your own. You do as you’re told and when you’re told. It might seem cool to hang out with your buddies and act tough on a street corner, but I haven’t seen one yet that comes through one of these nights without breaking.”

One mother said that after her son spent the night in the READY program, he told her he never wanted to go back because that place smelled awful. When she related the story to Walls, he just smiled and looked satisfied.

“That’s what I like to hear,” he chuckled. “That’s the whole point of the program. We don’t do it to show them a good time. We do it to make them never want to see the inside of a jail again.”
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Xelebes

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Re: Richland County SC Scared Straight Jail Program
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 01:10:51 AM »
Who steals CDs anymore?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Oscar

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Re: Richland County SC Scared Straight Jail Program
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 06:07:07 AM »
I found an additional article:

Fed up? Lock ’em up!
by Julia Rogers Hook, Columbia Star, February 26, 2010

Ever get a whiff of something coming from young Johnny’s room that smells suspiciously familiar from your college dorm days? Or does sweet Susie drive you crazy with her too short skirts and the never pleasant eye–rolling accompanied by the dreaded “whatever” when you tell her no, she’s not going out with an 18–year–old man?

In Richland County, Sheriff Leon Lott and a staff of men and women from the Sheriff’s Department headed by Investigator Gerard Walls have developed a program to help perplexed and baffled parents get a new grip on their teens’ behavioral problems. The program is called READY and stands for The Richland County Educating and Deterring Youth Program. The basic idea is to give problem teens a taste of what jail is like before they end up there for real, Walls said.

The READY program is an off–shoot of the county’s Crossroads program, Walls said.

In Crossroads we take the kids down to Alvin S. Glen and let inmates talk to them. They spend a few hours getting educated on what jail is really about. These inmates let them know that it’s not fun,” he said. “But the parents started asking for a more in–depth program that kept the kids overnight. So Sheriff Lott talked to some officers and came up with this program that imitates an actual arrest.”

“A lot of these kids come from single parent homes usually with no father on the scene,” he said. “The mothers just don’t know what to do anymore.”

He said the kids who end up with him aren’t really bad kids. They have just gotten in with a bad crowd or are acting out in a negative way such as stealing, cutting classes, fighting at school, or disrespecting their parents.

“If we can get them before they move on to bigger mistakes or get caught for smoking pot or stealing CDs, then we have a really good chance of making an impression that can really change their lives,” Walls said.

Parents needing some real change in their teenaged boys and girls fill out a form at the sheriff’s department and pay a $10 fee for the program that entails a mock arrest and an overnight stay in a solitary cell.

“The money covers the uniforms and the meals the kids will get while in our custody,” Walls said.

On the day this story takes place, the lobby of the Richland County Sheriff ’s Department on Two Notch Road was quiet as deputies from around the city arrived to accept a group of girls ranging from 13 to 16. Two of those deputies, DuJuan Council and Kelvin Griffin are special investigators who work with gangs in and out of the prison system. Council is a gang counselor at Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center where all inmates in South Carolina begin their sentences and Griffin, a deputy with Richland County, deals with gangs on the streets. Both said they believe in the READY program and gladly volunteer their time to work with Walls and his team to deter Columbia’s teens from getting on the wrong path.

“We try to make this as real as possible,” Griffin said. “The whole idea is to scare these kids so much that they never want to come to jail for real.”

Council echoed Griffin’s sentiments.

“We are tough on them, as tough as we can be,” Council said. “If they think it’s some kind of a joke, then the whole thing is a waste of time.”

And tough may not be the word to describe the rest of the evening for the girls coming to the program. THIS IS JAIL, THE REAL THING

One by one a parent and a teenaged girl showed up in the lobby. The girls, a mixture of street glam and Barbie dolls, were resigned to their plight but each one had a different reaction. Most looked shocked when their parents actually walked out the door as one of the deputies told them to put their hands behind their backs and cuffed them.

“Hey wait, we staying the night,” another incredulous girl asked as her mother walked out the door.

“Oh yeah,” Council said. “You kept sneaking out at night and didn’t want to stay in your house so now you’re going to stay in mine. This is jail, girl. The real thing.”

“I got to take my belt off?” one sassily bedecked teen asked.

“Oh yeah. Your belt, your shoelaces, and give your mama all that jewelry. Before the night’s over you’ll be taking all your street clothes off and putting on a uniform,” Walls answered. “You’re in jail now.”

All but one of the girls were dropped off by their mothers. That girl was turned in by her father, who was at the point of breaking as he saw his daughter being put in handcuffs. The man, more than six feet tall and an obvious athlete, wiped his face and sighed deeply as he walked out of the lobby with his daughter’s words, “I love you daddy” ringing in his ears.

One mother, a soldier, abruptly turned away as her daughter said “I love you mommy.” Perhaps she recognized the ploy, or maybe she didn’t want the girl to see her cry.

One mother dropped off all three of her daughters, all teens and all misbehaving. The sisterly trio was a jumble of unshed tears, snide smiles, and bitter reconciliation. Several girls tried the tough act, laughing and joking with the officers. It came to an abrupt halt as Council stepped up.

“What are you smiling about?” he gruffly asked one girl.

“Nothing,” she grinned back.

“You’ll stop smiling soon enough,” he groused. “Just wait.”

The smile on her face disappeared as apprehension began to register.

ALUMINUM TOILET IN PLAIN SIGHT

The girls were paraded up a flight of stairs and down several hallways to get to a gruesome looking holding cell. The cell was all of six by eight feet with dingy walls with no seating and an aluminum toilet in plain sight of the door. The lone roll of toilet paper was sitting on the cell’s less than pristine floor.

“We want it to look bad,” Walls said. “These kids need to know the reality of jail.”

The young women are ordered to stand facing the wall and not to talk until they are transported to the county jail where they will spend the night. What they don’t know is they are on a surveillance camera and if they do talk, one of the deputies will be back to explain the rules one more time. Each infraction carries a penalty for all of the girls involved so it turns into group law to behave with the girls monitoring each other.

Once all of the girls arrive and are put in the holding cell, a paddy wagon comes to the back of the jail. It’s a black van with no windows. The “seating area” is just a row of benches in a “cage.” There are two sets of doors in the back and on the side to double lock the already cuffed girls in. They must sit and balance themselves with their hands locked behind them just like any convicted inmate that travels from jail to prison.

At the jail where the group will spend the night, the van is pulled into a fenced parking garage with a K–9 deputy and his dog waiting. The dog, an ominous looking German Shepard, is eager and his barks are shrill as the girls are taken out of the van and lined up against the wall.

“This is where they usually begin to realize that this is not going to be fun,” deputy Griffin said. “This is where we really get tough with them.”

And tough they were.

In addition to Walls, Griffin, and Council, five more deputies, including Senior Deputy Warren Cavanaugh and his dog, Fargo, are waiting on the girls’ arrival. Deputy Doris Taylor drove the girls over and as she opens the van all nine of the officers begin the lesson the parent’s want their kids to learn. The din of the deputies shouting and the barking dog is deafening as it echoes off the concrete walls and floor.

“All right out of the van and up against that wall,” Taylor yells.

“Double time it ladies. That means RUN,” Council screams.

THIS DOG IS A DRUG DOG

“Stand straight, put your hands out, spread those legs NOW,” Alvin S. Glenn Detention Officer Ernest Starling bellows.

All the while the German Shepard, Fargo, is straining at his leash and barking non–stop, lunging at the girls with Cavanaugh holding him back

“Any of you ladies got anything on you this dog can find?” Walls yells at the bewildered girls. “This dog is a drug dog. He can smell drugs a mile away and he sounds like he’s smelling something. Who has the drugs?”

When no one answers, Griffin and Council jump in.

“You were asked a question ladies. Do any of you have drugs on you? Answer us NOW.”

After a few mumbled

nos Council goes into his tough cop mode.

“Who do you think I am,” he shouts at the girls. “I am not your cousin. When you answer me, you say sir, are we clear?”

A meek chorus of ‘yes sir’s’ eek out of the girls.

“I can’t hear you ladies,” he booms out. “ARE WE CLEAR?”

And a resounding “Yes, Sir” fills the concrete room as the gate comes down with a clang, and the dog continues his barking.

IT’S WORKOUT TIME

The deputies begin to uncuff the girls, but before they can think this is a good thing, the ‘exercise’ session begins.

Starling steps up and addresses the group as he would any hardened felons.

“Ok, now we’re going to get you started in your work outs, ladies,” he announces in a pleasant voice. He explains how it’s going to go and how they must work together. Then the pleasantries fall away and the deputies begin to shout out the orders, moving the girls from one place to another in the line, telling them to get their hands on the wall they are facing and to spread those legs.

Deputy Taylor, the lone female deputy, begins to pat the girls down and have them take off their shoes. The dog goes wild and begins to stand on his hind legs and bark while straining toward the girls.

Cavanaugh eggs the dog on, but he has full control and the animal will clearly not get near the girls. The girls, with their backs to the dog spread eagle with their hands on the wall, have no way of being sure of that, the K–9 deputy said.

“This is just a scare tactic,” he said quietly. “The dog knows he’s supposed to frighten the kids, and I really think he enjoys it. But he wouldn’t hurt them even if he got loose unless he was given an order to do it.”

The other deputies embellish on the ferocious dog as Griffin asks again if the girls have any contraband.

“This dog will know. If you have it you’d better tell us before he finds it. He bites and you bleed. Tell us now,” he blusters.

EACH GIRL GOES IN A DARK CELL

After all the girls are searched and they take their hair out of what ever ribbons, barrettes, and headbands they wore in, they are rushed into the cells where they will ultimately spend the night and are given red jumpsuits. Each girl goes into a small dark cell and they are told they have 30 seconds to change. (They are really given about two minutes but it’s accompanied by all of the deputies screaming at them to hurry up and quit dawdling.)

One of the girls decides to knock on the door. It wasn’t clear why she did it, but Deputy Taylor made it crystal clear that knocking was unacceptable.

“You don’t knock,” Taylor said. “You don’t get to call us; we tell you when to do what. You’re in JAIL girl”

The girls are taken out of the cells and lined up against the wall. Each one has to announce why their parent or parents sent them into the program. It was a laundry list of fighting, shoplifting, sneaking out at night, and a couple of girls were sent in because they were 14 and 15 and wanted to date 18 and 19–year–old men. One unfortunate girl admitted that she disrespected her mother and grandmother.

Deputies Council, Griffin and Walls descended on her at once.

“Do you have a problem calling me ‘sir,’” Walls asked her.

“No sir,” she squeaked out.

“I haven’t done a thing for you. You don’t even know me yet; you’ll call me sir and you won’t say ma’am to your mama and grandma? Why do you disrespect them?”

“I don’t really know, sir.”

Council took over. He placed himself about six inches from the girl’s face.

“You don’t know? What kind of answer is that? Those women have given you everything, but you disrespect them? When you get home, IF you get home, you WILL respect those women now won’t you?”

It may have been guilt or shame or fear, but the girl’s voice cracked, and her eyes filled as she answered him.

“Yes sir.”

TIME FOR MORE EXERCISE

Once dressed out, the girls were taken back to the parking garage for more exercise.

“This is intended to teach them to work together,” Walls said. “If one of them stops the moves, they all have to start over. This is usually where we break them.”

Between jumping jacks, pushups, sit–ups and leg lifts, several of the girls burst into tears as the deputies moved among them yelling instructions.

“This is where we push them beyond their limits,” Council said. “These kids are used to doing what they want when they want so they wear out pretty quickly with a work–out.

We don’t make them do too many reps, but it does tire them out. If they’re sore when they leave here, maybe they’ll remember why they don’t want to come back”

Several of the girls began to cry and some said they couldn’t do the exercises but that only met with the deputies’ disdain.

“Oh you can yell at your mama and sneak out at night and worry her to death, but you can’t handle a few sit–ups? Quit that crying. Or don’t, but you can exercise while you’re crying. Now give me 10 more,” Griffin told one girl.

As the girls begin to wear down, Tessa Ashwell, a counselor for the corrections department, takes them one by one into her office to talk to them. It’s her job to try and find out why the kids are acting out and misbehaving.

“Sometimes we find out something is going on at home, and sometimes it’s not the kids’ fault. This is to protect them as much as it is to deter them,” Ashwell said.

From the deputies’ harshness to Ashwell’s soft spoken demeanor the tired girls are beginning to understand that their behavior may not be the best choice for them if they want to stay out of jail. Just as they start to look a little relaxed, in comes Josie, the self–proclaimed “intimidator.” It doesn’t take an onlooker long to figure out how she got the title.

Sporting red dreds and a drill sergeant’s attitude, when Josie James saunters into the room, it is evident this woman is no push–over. “It’s my job to scare the (blank) out of them,” she said. “I tell ’em like it is and I tell ‘em what’s what. I terrify them.”

James is a former inmate at Alvin S. Glenn and got involved in the “Scared Straight” program there. Now she assists the sheriff’s department in the READY program and another youth deterrent course called Crossroads.

While meeting the girls, one girl, 15, who was arguing with her mother about dating a 19–year–old man told James she might be pregnant. The former inmate immediately slides into street slang while questioning the girl.

THAT BOY’S GOING DOWN FOR STATUTORY RAPE

“Who’d the baby– daddy?” James demands. “Is it that 19–year–old? You tell me his name girl ’cause that boy’s going down for statutory rape. What’s his name, I said.”

The girl tells her through tears that have no effect on the former inmate.

“Officer Walls, go get this man and charge him wid rape. He done got this girl pregnant, and she’s only 15.”

James goes up to the girl and shakes her head.

“You done ruined your whole life, girl. You ain’t never gone have nothing if you carrying that man’s baby. He don’t want you. He wants to use you. He ain’t gone stand by you. You think he gone be around you when you all swole up wid a baby? You done ruined your whole life.”

Realizing that pregnancy won’t get her out of her present situation and that it could well get her friend arrested on serious charges, the girl quickly admits that while it’s possible she’s pregnant, she probably isn’t and returns to the group a little older than when she left them a few minutes earlier.

James talks to all of the girls and is armed with the list of the reasons the girls are there. She pulls no punches as she tells them how she ended up in jail for real and how she started out just like them.

“I was disrespectful and thought I knew everything too,” she told them. “Well when that cell door clangs shut, you realize you don’t know squat.”

LONELY NIGHT IN A SOLITARY CELL

The rest of the evening entails a ‘jailhouse’ meal and then a lonely night in a solitary cell. The girls have plenty of time to think about why they were there and whether they want to return, Walls said.

Once put in the cells for the night, the girls are given a thin mattress to put on the one bench that serves as both chair, bed, and a blanket. They are given pencil and paper and told to write a letter of apology to their parents.

“This program is eight months old, and we’ve run 171 kids through it, not counting this group. So far, only two of them have gotten arrested. The rest of them turned a corner.”

Walls said the program doesn’t end with the hellish night in the slammer. He said that each kid who is signed up is assigned a mentor and the mentor checks up on them and is available to counsel them or just take them out for a burger to talk. He said that made a big difference in these kids’ lives.

The mother of one of the girls who went through the program in this story, Damaris Ortiz, said she can’t believe the difference in her 13–year–old daughter, Kiara Smith.

“Investigator Walls has been such a huge help to my family,” Ortiz said. “My daughter wasn’t a bad girl, but she was displaying negative behavior. She was defiant and moody and becoming disruptive in school. When I spoke to Investigator Walls about it, he suggested I put her through this program.”

Walls knew the Ortiz family as he has worked at her other children’s schools. He knew Smith’s brother and sister, Ortiz said.

“I’m deeply grateful to the entire team that works with these kids,” she said. “They don’t realize what it means to parents when their kids straighten up. It was so hard to leave Kiara there at the jail, and she was so mad at me. But when I picked her up she was a different child. No mother wants to see their kid go through that, but better this way than the real thing. I certainly have no regrets for doing it.”

Walls said the goal of the program was to significantly impress the consequences of bad choices on the kids.

“When we take them back to their parents in the morning, I can promise you they will be different people than the people we brought here last night. Some try to laugh it off, and some try to act tough, but I haven’t seen one who didn’t break down by around midnight.

“Something about being alone in that cell with nothing to do changes these kids and the change is for the better.”
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Oscar

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Re: Richland County SC Scared Straight Jail Program
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2012, 06:13:56 AM »
And yet another article:

Jail Program Gives Teenagers a Reality Check
By Charlie Ban, Naco County News, Nov. 29, 2010

Somewhere between Scared Straight and a heavy-duty grounding, Richland County, S.C.’s Sheriff’s Department gets a message through to teenagers.

In 2009, parents asked the department if it offered something more than the county’s Crossroads Program, which placed teenagers in a roundtable discussion with convicts. Sheriff Leon Lott responded by opening the county jail’s holding cells to 13 teenagers on Friday nights for a comprehensive jail experience. It became known as Richland County, Educating, and Deterring Youth (R.E.A.D.Y.).

“It really gives kids a reality check,” said Monique Mack, the sheriff’s public information officer. “Every step is as close to the prisoner experience as we can make it.”

Teenagers report to the sheriff’s office, change into prison jumpsuits and are “booked.” The paddy wagon, complete with a barking dog on board, transports them to the courthouse, where they are taken to a holding cell — a 2-by-2 feet compartment with no windows and light coming beneath a steel door. Being in the courthouse separates them from the general jail population.

About two hours into their stay, the short-term inmates are rousted and taken to see a child psychologist.

“The experience is starting to settle in for these kids so it’s a little easier to get them to talk about why they’ve found themselves here, why they’re acting up, and what is bothering them so much,” Mack said. “It also gives the kids a neutral third party, who doesn’t answer to their parents, to talk to.”
After a while, the teenager has to write a letter of apology to the parent.

“What they write is up to them,” Mack said. “But they have to write something. Even if they don’t know what the ‘last straw’ was, it really starts to dawn on them that they’ve done something wrong.”

After their meeting with the psychologist, they go back to their cell until all 13 teenagers have written their apologies, and one is chosen to serve food to the others, which they eat in their cells with the doors open.

They participate in a boot camp-style exercise session and meet as a group with gang unit investigators.

“They can talk freely about peer pressure and whether or not they have been approached by, or want to get out of, a gang,” Mack said. “It’s a freebie, an opportunity to extricate themselves from a bad situation.”

After that discussion, they head back to their Spartan cells for a few hours of sleep, but not too much.

“We don’t want them to get too comfortable,” Mack said. “When they get home the next morning, we want them to be exhausted.”

They wake up for individual meetings with an investigator, who hopes to draw out a more personal issue that can be addressed.

“This has been a really valuable step,” Mack said. “We’ve had a few girls who opened up about abusive situations, and we have been able to look further into that.”

After being returned to the sheriff’s office, the kids are picked up by their parents and guardians, and a 12-month relationship with a mentor begins.

“Most kids want some kind of engagement, some attention,” Mack said. “They want to be a part of something, good or bad. If they aren’t part of their family at home, they’ll go looking for it on the streets, and mentors help them find their place.”

More than 250 kids have completed the program over the past 18 months, with the first few dozen finishing their mentoring component recently.

Mack said the program has had an 85 percent success rate, meaning only 15 percent of participants have done as much as talk back to their parents or guardian after completing the program.

“It helps because it changes who kids are when they’re all alone in a cell,” Mack said. “Television sensationalizes jail, makes it look cool and not like a bad alternative to what these kids think is out there.”

A $10 fee pays for jumpsuits and food, so the county’s costs are 48 man-hours a month for three officers to work overtime — three officers a week, two weekends a month.

The department is trying to have reunions for teenagers who have been in the program, plus opportunities for parents to trade their stories and discuss solutions.

“The program is summed up when a parent says to me ‘I have my child back,’” Lott said. “Being able to steer children back from a path of disrespect for their families and communities is our goal.”
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »