Say no to another juvenile detention center

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, June 19, 2010

There are many ways to express your displeasure over government policy decisions. Some create picket signs and march in front of City Hall. Others talk directly with decision makers to convince them to rethink their positions on a matter. Some pressure political leaders during an election year to articulate to them that a potential constituency is displeased with a particular public policy and to change would be in one's political best interests. Such is the case with the escalating discussion regarding building another juvenile detention center. Spending over $100 million dollars in construction and budgeting over $8 million dollars a year in operating costs is faulty policy regarding our youth. It would seem that these funds should be invested in opportunity for youth versus detaining youth. It is interesting to note that through this proposed expenditure many more beds will be created than are currently needed. Which suggests that the energy and efforts of the police and judiciary will be focused upon filling up the bed spaces. In effect the detention and incarceration of youth will accelerate. The public should not allow this sweeping indictment of our youth. Strategic investments in education, opportunity, job creation, and family stabilization would yield more positive results than the predictable hardening of youth through detention and incarceration. As a result I signed on with the leaders of major foundations and organizations against this expenditure and will meet with the political and policy leaders on Monday to articulate in a clear and concise manner that there is a better way to invest these precious resources and to signal a change in public policy towards a more holistic solution to issues affection our youth.

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