Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Juvenile Offender Becomes Advocate for At-Risk Youth

on September 3, 2011

Denney Juvenile Justice Center is a part of the Reclaiming Futures Program. The Reclaiming Futures model unites juvenile courts, probation, adolescent substance abuse treatment, and the community to reclaim youth. Together, they work to improve drug and alcohol treatment and connect teens to positive activities and caring adults.

This Fall, I’ll be doing some workshops with kids in Drug Court through the Reclaiming Futures Program. I’ll be working with Henri Wilson who is a teaching artist and teaches the kids art in the Denney School Program. We’ll be doing some workshops which combine art and writing.

As soon a I found out about the Reclaiming Futures Program, I subscribed to their blog. And, today’s Reclaiming Future’s Blog post is a round-up of news article about juvenile offenders. Of particular note was this article about Starcia Ague who was incarcerated for six years at age fifteen on charges that included kidnapping and robbery, and is now a college graduate and leading a national crusade for reforms in the juvenile justice system.

Starcia helped push through a law in the state of Washington that allows Class A juvenile felony records to be sealed, at the discretion of the judge, as long as youth have a clean record for 5 years after their release. The law, Senate Bill 6561, which passed in February 2010, ensures that juvenile offenders who have shown a sustained commitment to turn their lives around can apply for jobs, housing, and educational opportunities without being compromised by their past.

In the article, Starcia says:

“Receiving an education and having hope for a future was one of the most powerful forces for change in my life. I am convinced that opportunities for betterment, hope for the future, and mentors are critical,” Starcia said. “If there is not someone to help juvenile offenders see their own potential and plan for their futures, then it is generally easier to continue the life they are familiar with—a life of crime. We all have the opportunity on a daily basis to mentor each other: friends, coworkers, family, strangers. You never know what kind of lasting impact you might have on another’s life. Those of us who have overcome challenges have an even greater obligation to reach out.”

To read the full article go here.

 

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