Numerous researches favor criminal justice initiatives that shift its focus into prevention and intervention instead of punitive measures. This is especially true to juveniles who are just starting to create their worldview. Often, those who end up in juvenile detentions are those who lived with difficult circumstances – a bad neighborhood, family members who are in the system, those who witness violence at home. It would be a disservice to these youth to be apprehended over things that they have very little or no control over.
On this webinar, Judge Michael Latham, the presiding judge of the Arizona Superior Court in Apache County will tell us about the Loft Teen Center. He will share what they put into place to provide support and promote positive engagement to the kids of their community preventing them from going astray. Some of the things he discussed include:
- A brief overview of the Apache County in Arizona and its jurisdiction.
- The conditions that Judge Latham arrived to when he became the judge of the county with a detention center that costs $1.2 Million to maintain per year that only serves an average of 1.7 juveniles per day.
- Determining the options available for the county instead of having to maintain their own detention center.
- The solution that Apache County entered in partnership with neighboring Navajo County where the latter agreed to house up to 4 juveniles from Apache County per day for a fixed annual fee.
- The continuous decline in juvenile numbers that drove Navajo County Juvenile Detention Center to close up as well leaving Apache County looking for alternative options.
- The various juvenile detention centers and models that Judge Latham visited and looked into to serve as inspiration for Apache County’s own program.
- The objectives set by the county for their initiative which includes having a temporary holding area, a 23-hour respite, and a venue for teens to engage and in effect veer away from trouble.
- Spearheading a massive renovation project where the old Apache County Juvenile Detention Center was turned into the Loft Legacy Teen Center.
- Before, during and after renovation photos and videos showing the transformation of the center from cold and institutional to a laid back and inviting space for teens.
- The different rooms, amenities, and programs available at the Loft Legacy Teen Center designed to help with schoolwork and engage the youth through after-school activities.
- The positive outcomes of the initiative that resulted in a 50% decline of juvenile referrals, 0% recidivism, and reduced costs needed to maintain the facility.
- Plans for a Lodge Legacy Teen Center in the near future in a community where a significant portion of juveniles are from.
- The team members involved in making the initiative a reality from building to maintaining the Loft Legacy Teen Center.
- Questions raised during the Q&A concerns:
- The funding that was used to build and maintain the facility.
- The process for kids that need to be detained.
- Understanding the dynamics that lead the kids to be involved with the system.
- Staffing the teen center and amenities.
- Allowing youth on probation to interact with the general population in the teen center.
This webinar is part of the 2019 #Catalyst4Change Awards. Other webinars in this series include:
- May 15: Real Money, Real Impact, Real Re-entry: Building Futures with the OCCD Construction Program
- May 22: Differentiating by Risk & Enhancing Skill Building Techniques to Motivate Positive Change
- “What an amazing program! I would love to visit and have a tour. I learned a lot on just treating people as people really can make a difference and positive change it can have on an individual. thank you for sharing. ” –Kara
- “The transformation was amazing, it is a model that should be mandated throughout.” –Sandra
- “It was uplifting to see what other juvenile justice systems are doing to provide attention and services to our youth that are struggling. Great program!!” –Cindy
- “It takes a team effort and desire to improve kids lives to fulfill vision. I love the modern respite room and ideas for leisure activities.” –Cristy