In Texas, more than 100,000 youth are arrested annually or referred to the juvenile justice probation department. It costs an estimated $441.92 daily per youth to house juveniles in state-operated facilities run by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). Yet, research shows that incarceration is less effective than evidence-based juvenile programs.
Texas Center for Justice & Equality reports, on average, over 10,000 youthful offenders were on probation in 2019. Sadly, 6 out of every 10 youth placed on probation following an adjudication in 2015 were rearrested within three years of their supervision start date, and about a quarter of the same youth was re-convicted in the juvenile system or convicted as an adult within the same time frame.
In part, this may be due to lacking support for youth probationers in their communities or probation being the wrong response to some youths’ behavior. Research suggests that youth who pose little risk of reoffending may be harmed, rather than helped, by being placed on probation.
The Life Skool, Probation Support Program, aims to reduce delinquency, increase student accountability, and rehabilitate offenders through a comprehensive community-based leadership program to reduce the likelihood of adult criminalization while advancing students aged 13-17 to their next phase in life. The Probation Support Program cohorts will be grouped based on age and offense while operating as a family, and in doing so, all students will wear program-issued black polo shirts with khaki or black pants. Also, during community service projects, students will wear customized t-shirts and shorts given by staff. Referrals will come directly from Juvenile Probation Departments for probationers or parolees, schools, foster care, or parent enrollment. Students will create an action plan that analyzes their term of probation while identifying family, environmental, and career barriers to completing their probation conditions. Furthermore, classes are community-based and will be held three days weekly, with two Saturdays and one parent engagement session, for approximately 38 hours per month. Students will receive 16 group and course lecture hours and 8 hours of individual mentoring coaching, 10 hours of community service projects, and 4 hours of academic tutoring support with a matched collegiate peer at their school campus or home monthly.
Program phase two focuses on meaningful community service projects, physical fitness, professional etiquette classes, creative writing and financial literacy workshops, enrichment field trips, and substance abuse awareness to structure a safe and creative learning environment.
In conclusion, student enrollment in the program will be determined based on probation sanctions. At the end of this course, students keep their workbooks, which contain their commitment signature and a call to action plan to accept the responsibility of serving others and becoming an asset to their family and community. In addition, students can receive up to a $500 incentive-based scholarship based on attendance, participation, and engagement.
Understanding community and educational needs Life Skool Probation Support Program will instantly increase classroom performance and attendance to reduce dropout and recidivism rates by using a simple 3-step process to complete its mission;