On 6/15/09, JS Columnist Pam Adams wrote "Steering Kids Away From Violence", stating that in 2001, 704 juveniles were detained in the Peoria County/City Juvenile Center of which 72% were black. Updating Ms. Adams figures, in 2008, 182 Caucasians, 666 were blacks, 10 Hispanic and 1 Asian were detained. Through October, 2009, 131 Caucasians, 419 blacks, 9 Hispanics and 3 Asians had passed through the system.
What is also staggering is the amount of juvenile Child-Care days of 15,777 in 2008 with 11,343 already in 2009 though October, 2009. Mostly one parent kids. This child care is at tax-payer expense. Steering kids away from violence and dis-respect is an ongoing process. And black leaders telling their kids, black, white or other, that they are products of "victimization" hasn't worked and won't work.
But how do kids know these things if they can't read and TV, computer games, and cell-phones are their major sources of information?
Are we doing a very good job of it? The answer is no. Kids do not learn much about fair discipline in homes these juvenile offenders come from. Kids see that they can get away with violating the establishments rights, common folks rights, classmates rights, daring teachers to discipline them and other care providers until they run into problems with the real law. At that time, it is often too late for them to change there prevailing destructive attitudes.
Volumes have been written, hoards of professionals have addressed youth about avoiding trouble including the W. Haywood Burns Institute, mentioned by MS. Adams. Nothing will work until kids understand to respect themselves, respect authority, respect the rights of others, earn self-esteem and learn to read and communicate. A lot of concerned adults have spent years of their lives trying to reach these kids only to have others ruin a lot of their efforts. And a many adults who should know better are responsible for the ruination of many younger peoples' lives.
We are not gaining on crime prevention and we will never make progress where success is determined by one's earthly possessions and fame. Yet honestly earned possessions are absolutely necessary. Success can only called be called "success" if lives are led for the benefit of one's own self-respect and the respect of others in a law-abiding, less greedy, society. And learning enough, including how to work and hold a job to provide for a starter two adult family. We are a long way from that society and the having enough mentors to lead the way. We adults, have just as far to go in reaching that goal as the juveniles.
No, Ms. Adams and thousands of other, lock them up and throw away the key does not work provide good "outcomes". 93% incarcerated eventually return to the real world if that's what we can call the "real" world they re-enter today.
In many cases, re-enter to what? And whose problem is that?
Sorry, deny all you want but we have met the enemy and the enemy is "us". It's the problem of concerned adults. Are there enough of them? Probably not, we appear to be most interested in ourselves.
Change as adults. Otherwise, don't expect kids to lead us out of "problemed" communities.