Improving Public Education on the Criminal Justice System

Investing in public schools has been proven to reduce adult crime, according to a new summary from the Education Policy Initiative. The working paper, entitled “Public school funding, school quality and adult delinquency”, written by E. Jason Baron, Joshua Hyman and Brittany Vasquez, examines the correlation between increased funding for public schools and decreased crime rates. For years, Boys and Girls Clubs of America has been implementing strategies to help its members build self-esteem, develop honest values and pursue a successful future.

These clubs also work to prevent gang involvement. Supported in part by federal funding, clubs have formed partnerships with corporations, private foundations, individuals and government agencies. A Columbia University study found that boys' and girls' clubs have been successful in increasing school attendance rates and improving academic performance. In addition, public housing project clubs have reduced the juvenile delinquency rate by 13 percent.

Education and workforce development services are essential for providing meaningful employment and long-term success, particularly for those involved in criminal and juvenile justice systems. For almost three decades, educators, policy makers and criminal justice professionals have sought effective crime prevention strategies. Crime has a detrimental effect on families and communities and diverts money and resources that should be spent on preventive measures to keep people out of jail. At the start of the semester, we had some basic knowledge about the criminal justice system and, with the help of a series of expert guest speakers, we discussed frontline police, correctional facilities, probation, human trafficking, re-entry centers, police unions, treatment programs, prosecutors, higher courts, collaborative courts and the impacts of crime.

The enthusiasm of SPP students for equity and criminal justice issues is inspiring, and I am proud to be part of their academic journey. Volunteers have assisted elementary school students in improving their reading skills and grades in Kentucky, patrolled recreational areas in New York City, helped law enforcement and community members close drug addicts' homes in Kansas City, and aided residents in recovering from natural disasters in California and the Midwest. This enabled us to explore psychosocial theories, the impact of fear on cognitive processing, disparities within the criminal justice system, and evaluation tools for a proposed concept of political reform. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced the launch of the School Discipline Support Initiative. This collaborative project between the Departments of Justice and Education seeks to address the “school-to-prison process” as well as disciplinary policies that can lead students to drop out of school or enter the judicial system. Among the invited speakers on this topic was the lawyer of an inmate currently sentenced (to death), whose access to due process has been widely criticized by the families of the victims and senior judicial officials (including a former attorney general and a deputy judge of the Supreme Court, together with a United Nations panel).

Luis Mersinger
Luis Mersinger

Devoted internet enthusiast. Evil internet geek. General pop culture enthusiast. Extreme web specialist. Typical internet aficionado. Alcohol guru.

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