Juvenile Crime Drops, Community Programs Help
Published February 23rd, 2013
GAINESVILLE - A recent study shows youth incarceration has dramatically dropped in the United States. One reason for the drop could be the programs out there making our youth aware of the laws and what they mean.
Landale Thomas is a junior at Gainesville High School says he's happy to hear the amount of teenagers in jail are going down. He was part of this year's Law and Justice Conference. "The whole conference today is to be a leader and influence other people, cause when you influence you invest and when you invest, those people are going to be bigger and they're going to come back and help the communities," Thomas says.
The conference hopes to bring a change to juvenile's actions. Workshops and a panel discussion were among the things planned for this day-long conference. Aubroncee Martin, Chairman for the Law and Justice Conference 2013 says, "What we're really excited about is that we had Mr. Eugene Pettis here this morning. He is the president-elect for the Florida Bar. The first African-American president for the Florida Bar and he gave a fantastically motivating speech this morning."
The conference took place at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law with the help of the Josiah T. Walls Bar Association among other organizations. Meshon Rawls a University of Florida professor involved with the program says, "Think about prevention and trying to keep our kids out of the system, these are the things that help them. That when they can truly understand what the law means and why the law is there it really gives them an opportunity that when they have a choice, if that choice is to make a decision that's going to take them down a bad track or a positive track, they're going to make the right decision."
About 85 students came out to the conference. Those students were chosen from after school programs that cater to at-risk teenagers. Sheree Graham president for Josiah T. Walls Bar Association says, "The kids don't really understand why it's important to get involved, they don't understand that they're a part of the community... That they have a stake in the community and that they can make a change in the community. To really get these kids inspired, and encouraged to get involved," Graham says.
The conference highlighted the importance of civic action and showed kids and adolescents how law can help with self-empowerment. This is the second Law and Justice Conference. Another one is expected to take place again, next year.
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