Tag Archives: Art & Crime

Empowerment Congress Summit Tomorrow!

We’re all signed up for the Empowerment Congress Summit Tomorrow. This comes at a perfect time. Remember the blog post Art Reduces Crime. And More!, now we’ll have a chance to talk with people in person about this very subject.

Here’s the workshop Jess signed up for:

Beyond Incarceration: Envisioning a New Probation Department. Los Angeles County runs the largest probation department in the world, with over 2000 youth housed in 18 probation camps and 2 juvenile halls at any given point in time. With a cost per probationer of over $7500 a month, an average camp stay of four and half months, and a recidivism rate between 50-75%, many have challenged the effectiveness of the existing system. Led by Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, many organizations have called for a consent decree to require Federal oversight over probation camp reform. In addition, the progressive alternative models that are being implemented around the nation provide resources and examples of what the Los Angeles County Probation Department should aspire to. This panel will explore these alternative models and discuss how Los Angeles County can best move forward with reform.

The plan is to print out the blog post, as well as other statistical information Jess has gathered. We’ll let you know how it goes!

More info about the summit below.

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Art Reduces Crime. And more!

Intersections : The South Los Angeles Report posted an article “Mark Ridley-Thomas has proposal for juvenile justice reform” a couple days ago. It read:

About 20,000 young people are on probation in Los Angeles County right now, and more than 40 percent of these youths will head right back to jail. Board Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas commissioned a report on making transition back into society more successful, and it makes some serious charges.

“We need to be smart about reentry,” Ridley-Thomas said.

The report found that some county juvenile detention camps have good reentry programs; some, but not all. The programs make sure that young people have a safe place, healthcare, addiction treatment, a support system and a plan for avoiding gang life before they leave. But the report argues that these transition services need to become institutionalized.

The researchers pointed to a few exemplary Los Angeles-based organizations as models for the Department of Corrections.

Well all we can say over here is: Don’t forget about art!!!

Art can lower crime, dropout rates, behavioral problems and more. And it’s signifigantly cheaper than the alternatives.  Here are the facts:

In the STAR program in Florida “each participant in Florida’s arts intervention program is only $850 per year—compared with as much as $28,000 per youth in the typical juvenile boot camp.”

And the Outcome of the STAR program: At the start of the STARS Program, 75& of the children were making less than a C average; now 80% are making a C average or better. Since the program’s inception, juvenile crime has dropped 28%, and for youth ages 11 and 12, the rate of recidivism has dropped 64%.

In Washington there’s the Experimental Gallery. Their goal is to teach responsible citizenship through the arts and the humanities. Their program offers workshops in creative writing, painting, drama, graphic design, sculpture, and videography are led by community artists and humanities scholars.

The Outcome of the Experimental Gallery: students in the Experimental Gallery overcome their behavioral problems by 75% and are 50% less likely to commit another crime.

In the words of Richard Romley, Maricopa County District Attorney in
Arizona, “As a prosecutor, I know that crime prevention pays far greater
dividends than prosecution. To this end, I make RICO funds available to
after-school arts and social programs for at-risk children that stimulate
imagination, develop skills and contribute to character development.
Children whose hearts and minds are nourished and challenged in
wholesome ways—such as by art, dance, theater, and sports—are much less
likely to succumb to the lure of crime.”

I could really go on with facts and statistics like this for days. Art affects us and our communities in so many positive ways. What I’d really love is for The Center : South LA to be able to be a part of statistic reporting like this. We’re doing what we can without a permanent space. And I’m proud of what we’ve done so far. But with some funding we could do SO MUCH MORE!!! Funding to pay for a space of our own. We’ve have amazing teachers ready and willing to teach great classes like graphic design, silkscreening, dance, etc… But classes like this require a space of our own.

Donate, please. Let’s do more.

You can email Mark Ridley-Thomas here: markridley-thomas@bos.lacounty.gov