May 27, 2018

Arts centered diversion program for troubled youth

Juvenile Justice Information Exchange - The program is short: two counseling sessions, two hours each. But for teens and adults who have been arrested for the first time, it can save them from a lifetime with a criminal record.

Project Reset is a diversion program that was started in 2015 by the Manhattan District Attorney's office as an opportunity for teens who have committed nonviolent crimes like trespassing and turnstile-jumping to stay out of criminal court by completing alternative programming.

... Amy is one of hundreds of 16- and 17-year-olds in Manhattan who opted to do some of their Project Reset hours at Gavin Brown’s enterprise, a gallery that pairs teens in the program with artists. The artists lead group activities for the kids, teaching them about positive self-expression.
.... Derek Fordjour, who came to Project Reset as an artist a little over a year ago, says the vast majority of teens he works with in the program fit a very specific profile. He described a kid hanging out with his or her friends and getting involved in youthful indiscretions. Maybe they were loitering in an abandoned building or maybe they were pressured to jump a turnstile.

Instead of turning that indiscretion into a criminal label, the program offers its participants a second chance.

Since its inception, Project Reset has had a high completion rate: 919 teens in Manhattan and Brooklyn have participated since March 2015, with 98 percent completing their hours, according to program analysis from the Center for Court Innovation.

The process begins at the point of arrest and before arraignment, when a police officer alerts potential participants that they may qualify for diversion programming. If participants complete the program, charges are dropped and they do not have to appear in criminal court.


Anonymous said...

Very energetic article, I loved that a lot.

Will there be a part 2?

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