We know that young people in the justice system need constructive activities and positive adults to work with them, right? Treatment's important, but they also need opportunities to learn and practice new skills that will that help them be successful when they leave the justice system, get off probation, and leave treatment.
So here's three inspiring examples of jurisdictions that have taken on the challenge:
- The Heman G. Stark youth correctional facility in California has implemented a dog training program for juvenile offenders (pictured above). In this undated TV news clip, we see youth working and living with shelter dogs 24/7 to train them so they can be adopted in the community. Even better: the youth get certified to do this kind of training when they leave the facility.
- The Sonoma County, California Juvenile Justice Commission holds an annual essay contest for kids in the justice system as well as other youth. Teens are "honored for their eloquence and endurance."
- A UK group brought together five teens from around the world who'd experienced the juvenile justice system who successfully lobbied the United Nations' Human Rights Council on juvenile justice issues and succeeded in getting a paragraph they wrote on the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth in the justice system into the Human Rights Council's latest resolution on juvenile justice.
BONUSES: Art can be an incredibly powerful way of communicating the human costs of substance abuse; it can also be a crucial tool for youth in recovery. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has just issued a useful handbook to help you organize an art exhibition on addiction and recovery.
Craving even more PYD ideas? Here's a post with many more creative things to do with teens in the justice system. They include activities from cooking to yoga to making movies.
Been there, done that? Leave a comment below about the exciting youth activities for teens in the justice system and/or addiction treatment in your community!
Updated: February 08 2018