La Salle School’s alternative to detention
2/29/12 – Albany, NY — The WMHT American Graduate Project is an initiative to raise awarness about the dropout crisis in the Capital Region community. Recently, Channel 13’s Elaine Houston moderated a televised town hall discussion with a panel of education experts from the Capital Region to consider the high dropout rate and what can be done to reverse it.
La Salle School was featured in a discussion about the “school to prison pipeline.” The school to prison pipeline refers to the growing use of zero-tolerance discipline, school-based arrests, disciplinary alternative schools, and secured detention to marginalize the most at-risk youth and deny them access to education.
La Salle’s Evening Reporting Center is an alternative to detention providing a program of positive youth development to Albany County adolescents know to the Probation Department. Held five days per week during hours know to be critical, the ERC has an impact in two important ways:
Since its inception in 2006, 82% of the participants have complied with court orders and avoided re-arrest while in the program.
A youth can receive a week of ERC programming for about 15% of a similar stay in a juvenile detention facility.
Richard Smith tells about his own experience leading up to incarceration as a teenager, what he learned about himself while in jail, and how it changed his thoughts of himself. As an adjunct instructor at La Salle, Smith tells his story, how he was in the same position as his young audience and, with help, how they can avoid his experiences.