Tag: african american
“We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.”
45 years ago yesterday Martin Luther King Jr. delivered “I’ve been to the mountaintop,” his final speech, to a crowd at the Mason Temple in Memphis Tennessee. Todd Chretien writes on the socialistworker.org, “Each time I listen to it, I stop, I’m captivated, and I’m forced to try to come to terms with what it means to fight for a better world.” The day following this speech, April 4, 1968, he was murdered. While we have come a way since 1986, there is still much work to be done. As Michelle Alexander argues in her critical book The New Jim Crow, “we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.” Staring with the school to prison pipeline African American children are being disproportionately siphoned into the … Read More »
K., age 17, reads the Criminal Code of Oregon at Multnomah County Juvenile Detention Facility in Multnomah County Oregon.
If you can’t read and you haven’t been exposed, you can’t dream. These kids don’t dream, they have nightmares. Everything they know is negative.”
- Judge Jimmie Edwards, Founder of the Bluett School
The Bluett School in St. Louis, MO is an innovative concepts academy–a school of last resort. Kids who have been thrown out of school for fighting, drugs, bad behavior, suspension, or running away are sent here. In addition to a small average class size, the students participate in after school activities such as chess, dog obedience training, dance, and orchestra. This adds another dimension to the education received by these kids, reaching beyond the standard school subjects.
I have to be alone in unit 11 because I’m 19 now. The only one in this whole wing. I’m waiting to get sentenced for armed robbery, but I’ll be in Santa Rita soon. My teacher Coach Brown comes for 6 and a half hours a day. I would rather not live here, I’d rather just live my life.
- J.P., age 18
Alameda County Juvenile Detention Center was built at a cost of $135 million dollars and opened in 2007. It has a capacity of 360 kids and is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified. J.P. is housed in a separate wing from the other inmates because adults are not allowed to be housed with the minor population.
Racine County Juvenile Detention Center, Racine, Wisconsin
Racine County Juvenile Detention Center normally holds about 60 juveniles. Kids go to school for five hours a day, mostly with special education teachers, and exercise for one hour. The facility implements ACE (Alternatives to Confinement through Education). Juveniles are called “kids” in this facility, and address staff by first name. There is a high recidivism in the institution.
In the Girls’ Wing of Central Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles, CA, recreation time in the cafeteria leads some girls to dance to the rhythm created by other girls drumming on the lunch tables. There are 113 girls in the facility, many of them being gang members. Girls at the Bluett School in St. Louis, Missouri take after school dance classes as part of their program. Kids are sent to Bluett School after being kicked out of school for fighting, drugs, bad behavior, suspension, and other reasons, in order to avoid court.
I’ve been here 4 months. I’ve been to the juvenile detention center five times. The first time was theft, the second, shoplifting, the third, possession of controlled substances, the fourth, violation of parole, and the fifth, violation of parole and felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. I’m in the 12th grade and get all A’s. No one visits me here. I used to have my own apartment, but now I will have to go back with my mom. She’s a hotel supervisor, and my dad works for Continental. It’s too far for my mom to visit, so I talk to her once a week for five minutes. My boyfriend tries to get me to be good. I’m supposed to be released in a month.
-M.B, age 17, Harris County Youth Village, Houston, Texas