News

From Inmate to Inspiration: Man Helps Prisoners and Youth Turn Lives Around

By Christopher Zoukis John Valverde is living proof that second chances are possible, and that the criminal justice system needs to be about more than just punishment — it should focus on rehabilitation and facilitating successful re-entry for the legions of ex-offenders who will eventually rejoin their communities. Valverde this year becomes CEO of YouthBuild

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Justice System Throws Poor Kids Into Debtors' Prison

By Christopher Zoukis It is becoming increasingly obvious that zero-tolerance policies contribute to the school-to-prison pipeline, often unfairly punishing youth for offenses that should not be dealt with in the criminal justice system. Involvement in the criminal justice system often kicks off a domino effect toward further interaction with the criminal system. For non-violent offenses

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Connecticut aims to break school-to-prison pipeline

By Christopher Zoukis Connecticut is moving to implement a series of juvenile justice and education reforms aimed at cutting the school-to-prison pipeline after a series of complaints were lodged about problems plaguing the state’s system. Governor Dannel Malloy has already moved to close the Connecticut Juvenile Training Program by 2018 after multiple reports of violence,

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Stop Sending Juvenile Offenders to Adult Prisons

By Jean Trounstine and Christopher Zoukis In a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision is a deceptively simple line that should affect, and in many cases, transform the way Americans think about juveniles who kill. At the heart of the 2012 groundbreaking case, Miller v. Alabama, said the Court, is the idea, proven by neuroscience and

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Opening up a world of reading opportunities for youth offenders

By Christopher Zoukis Recently librarian and literacy advocate Amy Cheney recounted an experience of teaching young offenders in a max unit how they could read to their children and/or younger siblings. One of the most poignant moments in her account, is her recollection that of the six girls in her group, just one of them

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Homeboy Industries–"Nothing Stops a Bullet Like a Job"

So many at-risk youth do not have opportunities to be educated or receive help with possible job placement. The mission of Homeboy Industries: Jobs not Jails: Homeboy Industries assists at-risk and formerly gang involved youth to become positive and contributing members of society through job placement, training and education.

Homeboy Industries located in Los Angeles, California offers at-risk, recently released and formerly gang involved youth a chance to become contributing members of their communities.

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Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy

San Bernardino County, California, is currently ranked as the 3rd highest county with gang activity nationwide, with 40,558 gang members. Wow! Those are huge numbers. And it appears that many of these gang members are at risk youth headed toward potential crime and eventual incarceration, putting yet more burden on the already over-taxed California prison system.

In 2001, a non-profit organization called, Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy was developed to help enrich the lives of at-risk youth through life building activities and instruction in the areas of education, employment, health, mentoring and community service. The Young Visionaries Youth Leadership Academy provides training in academic development, violence prevention, employment development, leadership and life skills development, teen pregnancy prevention and more to help youth at-risk live more enhanced lives without serving time in a correctional facility.

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