Criminal Justice & Corrections: Univeristy of Georgia community service projects and leadership development activities are designed to steer them in the right direction

Right and good correctional systems and public assistance from universities is a great step toward changing our society.

I have written and have often said that corrections begins at the moment of arrest and the experience of the person being arrested by the arresting officer is a relationship with the state and that experience and relationship begins at the moment of the arrest and experience offenders will take with them to any prison, camp, or rehabilitation facility.

I have also written that a person’s respect for the law and law enforcement officers is measured by their experience with law enforcement officers at all levels and as such each phase and step of an apprehension and arrest is important.

How men and women are treated upon capture and arrest will either breed respect for the law or resentment for officers.

I recommend, a small sentence before allowing an offender to enter any program and such a sentence must be designed from its inception to evaluate and prepare the inmate for their rehabilitation program.

To avoid institutionalization, outtake classes and procedures begin the first day after the inmate had been processed and able to function inside a cell-room and a classroom setting at county jail.  The better the cell, the greater psychological effect it will have on the candidate for  the reentry program or even community service.   For longterm reentry halfway homes are also still viable resources.

Special Agent Jose Maria Chavira M.S. for the Department of Justice an the Interior  USPS EMA  Emergency Management Agency

 

Athens, Ga. – A partnership between the University of Georgia and Athens-Clarke County is helping young criminal offenders turn something negative into a positive.

Twenty-eight young people from Athens-Clarke County recently graduated from YouthServe, a diversion program offered through the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development, Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court, and ACC Probation Services.

The program allowed participants aged 17 to 24 who are on probation for misdemeanor criminal offenses to engage in community service projects and leadership development activities designed to steer them in the right direction. Participants also satisfy their community service requirement by completing the program.

“The goal of the program is to provide the participants with an opportunity to reflect on their actions and think about how they can be better leaders to avoid making poor decisions again,” said Emily Boness, a public service associate with the Fanning Institute.

In the classroom, participants learned about leadership styles, principles of leadership, conflict, values, decision making, goal setting and individual and group communication.

“Hopefully, once students have a better sense of the way that they communicate, the way that they lead, and the way they address conflict, they can use that information going forward when making decisions,” Boness said.

Community service projects included working with local nonprofits, such as Books for Keeps, which provides summer reading for underprivileged children; Hands on Athens, which helps low-income Athens Clarke County homeowners in historic neighborhoods maintain and restore their properties as part of neighborhood revitalization; the Cottage, a sexual assault and children’s advocacy center; and the Northeast Georgia Food Bank. They also work with the UGArden, a student run garden that provides produce to older adults in the Athens area.

The community service projects enabled the group to apply principles from the leadership curriculum in a real-world setting.

Hannah Turner, a Public Service and Outreach Student Scholar, is working with Boness to measure the effectiveness of community service in reducing recidivism among young first offenders.

“We are measuring how effective community service is as a punishment,” said Turner. “I think there is the potential for community service to be impactful.”

Dale Allen, Athens-Clarke County chief probation officer, says he likes the educational component of the program because it does more than just punish offenders.
“Not only is it just tasking someone to go out and do community service, it is educating them on why they are doing this,” Allen said. “There is some leadership training. There is something besides just a physical task involved.”

Of the 29 participants selected, 28 completed this year’s program, the second since it began last year. 13 of the 25 participants completed the program in the initial year, but a full cohort was able to start from the beginning this year, so they were able to attend all five classes.

“We are very proud of its success,” Allen said. “The advantage is that we identify young people early on through the screening process and put them in an environment where they get individual attention. We are seeing a little more maturity coming out on the other end.”

In essays about the program, participants indicated the experience was positive. In one essay, a participant said YouthServe would make them “a better person and a better leader.”

“I have learned so many things and taken so many things from this class,” another participant wrote. “If you were questioning whether or not to continue doing this, I believe that it is very beneficial to the kids who are on probation.” Staff

Filed under: Culture / LivingEducationParenting / FamilyPublic Policy and PoliticsLaw

The University of Georgia is a Proud Member of the Department of Education

 

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