Preparing today's At-Risk Youth to be Life-Ready instead of Prison-Ready
Former Federal Prison Inmate/client Cedric Dean
At a time when having a high school diploma and post-secondary education is more important than ever to developing a successful life path, too many of this nation’s youth are stumbling down paths that lead to dead-end jobs, social disengagement, or imprisonment. Unfortunately, this trend is especially prevalent among low-income and minority youth, who are more likely to drop out of high school, less likely to complete college, and more likely to be imprisoned or worse. Research shows nearly 75 percent of state prisoners did not earn high school diplomas. We continue to ignore the connections between low levels of educational attainment and the poor life outcomes faced by all too many young minority people in this country. A recent Los Angeles Times article reports that approximately 50 percent of those released from California juvenile prisons will be imprisoned again within two years. Missouri is making changes, it has redesigned its juvenile prison system, changing it from merely a long-term holding cell for disconnected youth to one that is focused on reconnecting young people to meaningful personal, educational, and career development. With the hope of stopping the pipeline to prison and open the door to a more purposeful life.