Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Prison tour program tries to keep boys on right path

Program takes Oakland teens into San Quinten prison to spend a day with the inmates. The program is similar to the famous "Scared Straight" program from the '70's - but with a lighter touch. The stats quoted in the article are obscene. We have much to do to save the young men of our urban communities.

"More than 100 inmates in orange jumpsuits flashed gang signs and screamed at the four Oakland teenagers entering San Quentin Prison's cell block courtyard, urging the youths to join them and to "keep thuggin'." One boy turned his head, wincing as his gaze fell on an open-air toilet."

"Based on current trends, 32 percent of black males will enter state or federal prison during their lifetime, compared with 17 percent of Hispanic males and 5.9 percent of white males. Forty-six percent of jail inmates nationwide had a family member who has been incarcerated, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Studies show that teens have a greater chance of winding up behind bars if they have a father or uncle who has also been incarcerated. Pastor Brondon Reems of East Oakland's Center of Hope Church, who organized the program along with San Quentin Public Information Officer Lt. Vernell Crittendon, said warnings from inmates often have a greater impact on teens than admonitions from parents, teachers and church leaders."

Read the entire article HERE.

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