Giving Kalamazoo youth offenders one more chance
We hear about the need for "wrap around services" for small children, but what about young adults who just need one more chance? Our publishing partner, Southwest Michigan's Second Wave, has an article this week about a successful Kalamazoo-based youth diversion pilot project. Working in conjunction with the juvenile justice system, a local spoken word program, Kinetic Affect, is piloting a program that they hope will be replicated in other communities. As Kirk Latimer, one of the program's founders told Second Wave, "The judge isn’t ready to give up on them and neither are we."
In any given month, approximately 1,900 Kalamazoo County residents are on probation. About 25 percent of those people are ages 17 to 20. These uncomfortable numbers come from Lynn Kirkpatrick, probation services director in district court, and these numbers make no one more uncomfortable than Judge Anne Blatchford of the 8th District Court.