Mentoring Incarcerated Youth
The Mentoring Bridge Building Program is an endeavor to help close the ever revolving door of juvenile crime. The program involves volunteers facilitating classes at the Sacramento Youth Detention Facility (Juvenile Hall). The purpose of the class is for volunteer mentors to form relationships with the detained youth which will be continued after the young person has been released and is back in society.
The volunteer mentor agrees to continue to work with the ward for at least one year in a supportive role in helping them bridge the gap between being incarcerated in an institution, and becoming a productive member of society. This would involve helping them find a job, if they have finished their schooling. It would also include helping them to find healthy productive activities, or community involvement, which would serve as a deterrent to them drifting back into a life of crime and re-entering the criminal justice system.
The typical recidivism rate for juvenile crime is extremely high, however for young people in the Youth Connections Unlimited Mentor - Bridge Building Program the recidivism rate is less than 5%.
National statistics show that 98% of young people who have a mentor do not get into gangs or drop out of school.
There is a distinct co-relation between low academic achievement, school failure and delinquent criminal behavior. When a young person fails academically their self esteem suffers. Low self esteem feeds the gang mentality and is a contributing factor for criminal behavior. A young person who is achieving academic success usually has positive goals and career plans and has no interest in crime.
Our tutoring program involves volunteer tutors going to the Youth Detention Facility once a week for a minimum of two hours to either help a struggling student in a class room setting or one on one tutoring after school hours.
The tutoring program is administered by the Sacramento Office of Education (SCOE)
“Far too many of our children are falling through the cracks for lack of adult guidance and attention. Research shows that children who have mentors and tutor are more likely to attend school on a regular basis, resolve conflicts with resolution techniques, and get along better with parents and guardians art home. Incarcerated youth at the Sacramento County Youth Detention Facility benefit tremendously form the services provided by mentors and tutors.
If we are to eliminate recidivism, and increase the academic and social skills of or society’s high risk student population, we need more youth connections through hands on mentoring and tutoring services.”
Mary Ruth Bell Ed.D.,MA,MSE
Director III of Student Programs Department