Good morning everyone! While reflecting over my life,realized that I made a lot of mistakes. I’ve done several things that went against some of the things that my mother taught me. I can remember standing on those dangerous street corners of Riverside Projects in Wilmington, Delaware. I sold drugs as well as used them. I took trips to Philadelphia and New York City in order to make a quick flip.I lived a completely reckless life. In my book “100 Years” http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00TLXK5L6, I explained how I continued taking risk with my life and ended up learning things the hard way. As I fast forward back to 2015, some of our youth are doing the same things I did or even worse. My question is: Is there hope for our youth? As parents; are we doing all that we can in order to guide, teach, and set a good example for our youth to follow? On the other hand, should we give- up on our youth and allow them to learn the hard way? Let me know your thoughts!
I have made a number of mistakes in my life. My problems started during my early teenage years. Those mistakes have placed me in some very compromising and dangerous situations. Our youth are making some of the same mistakes that I made when I was a teenager. We now live in a technologically advanced society. Almost anything that we want is within reach through our devices; iPad, iPod, laptops, and smartphones. These are very useful tools which allows us to connect with others on a personal as well as in a professional level. The concern with more technology and resources comes the reality of having more opportunities to do different things. Drugs, pills, and sex are more available than in years past. A minor can meet and be lured by an adult predator, acting as a teenager online. This can happen within the comforts of a child’s home.
I encourage parents to work extra hard at being there as a “shield and guard” for your children. No, we can’t protect them from life and they will have to learn some things through experience. When noticing sudden changes in their behavior, then I urge you not to brush it off as growing pains. They might need your direct intervention and support at that very moment. We must work towards helping our youth make better decisions concerning their lives. I got into a lot of trouble by simply choosing to do the wrong thing. Teenagers now have assistance with the bombardment of the internet. I just encourage adults to be aware of the many challenges and offer guidance in the times of need.
“My hope is that by sharing my story, others will learn from my experiences and began to make better choices.” This is a quote by Author, Mark L Baynard,100 Years: A Journey to End a Vicious Cycle http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00TLXK5L6
There is a high recidivism rate among juveniles in the State of Alabama. The number is between 80% and 90%. Once a juvenile enters the system, he is expected to return to another juvenile facility or even enter the big house. These numbers have been consistent for the past twenty years. This very high number is outrageous. There should be a state of emergency declared. Some of these offenders have non-violent convictions. State policy require each juvenile to attend educational classes while in juvenile custody. I would also like to suggest policies on life skills, decision-making, self-esteem as well as vocational training. I think that when an individual values self, that person will be less likely to place their life in danger. These things should be taught in addition to GED or High School Diploma courses. This will help to counter some of the challenges that are waiting for youth once they return to their community. Some of the challenges consist of drugs, gangs, and peer pressure. This is not only an Alabama problem but more of an American problem. Every time that I see or hear of another juvenile returning to prison, I wonder what could have been done to prevent this from happening?
Am I the only one who see a problem in these numbers. Have we given up on our children? I think that we need more diversion programs as well as re-entry programs. The diversion programs can offer alternatives to juvenile detention centers for first time and non-violent offenders. The re-entry programs can offer guidance and assistance for juveniles being released. There are a number of issues that juveniles will face once they are released. They may feel confused on where they now fit into society. We will lose some of them to gangs and street life at this point.
I am reaching out to some of our great minds on this site. I am looking for comments or suggestions on this topic. What can be do in order to lower the current recidivism rate of juveniles.