Talking points won't heal D.C.'s youth
By Gabriel Feldman
In his June 12 op-ed column, “D.C.’s juvenile justice farce,” Colbert I. King quoted D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At Large) addressing the root causes of youth violence in the city: “Kids are being raised without the parenting and support they need to develop socially.”
Mr. King’s columns consistently fail to consider our city’s problems with similar understanding. He seems content to blame the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) and perpetuate a culture of fear. Nationwide, recidivism rates are high, and more jail time seldom rehabilitates youth offenders. Despite the best efforts at reform, most correctional facilities remain violent and punitive. Eventually, almost all offenders will have to reenter the community.
I await more journalism from The Post that examines how the lack of support leads so many youth to end up in DYRS care in the first place. The vague “professional therapeutic treatment” and “mental health intervention” that Mr. King trumpets are not so different from the therapeutic goals developed by DYRS in recent years. Unfortunately, it’s harder to address these issues than it is to write alarmist columns in the paper.
The writer was a teacher at the Oak Hill Youth Center from 2007 to 2009.
| June 17, 2010; 6:52 PM ET
Categories: D.C., D.C. politics, HotTopic, Mayor Fenty, crime, guns, media, public health
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