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“Becomming a Man” – A Program Successful at Cutting Youth Crime in Chicago

Something is working to at least slow the violence in Chicago down. It also will never be covered by most of the MSM because it is.

Inside The Chicago Program That Is Slashing Youth Crime Rates

“They learn that the kid sitting across from them in the circle has those same fears, has those same anxieties and that it’s OK.”

The Chicago-based program Becoming A Man is the type that allows rival gang members to sit together, just days after one group killed a member of the other, and calmly talk about their issues, according to John Wolf, senior manager of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab.

“The kids weren’t saying whether or not they specifically knew who did it. But you had these two groups of people — where they knew someone from their group of friends had just killed someone from the other group of friends — and they were able to sit down in this group and have a conversation back and forth about what had just transpired,” Wolf said. “They were talking through ways of finding peace and ways of making sure it didn’t escalate further.”

For the past few years, Wolf and his colleagues have been studying the impact of the Becoming A Man program, which targets at-risk male students in Chicago public schools. The program, run by the non-profit organization Youth Guidance, allows students to participate in weekly group sessions that teach them how to be more conscious of their decision-making processes. A recent two-year evaluation of the program showed that between 2013 and 2015, there was a 50 percent decline in violent crime arrests for the 2,000 participants as compared to a control group. The results of this evaluation are being shared Monday at the National Summit on Preventing Youth Violence in Baltimore.

By teaching these adolescent males how to slow down their decision-making processes and avoid knee-jerk reactions, the program aims to improve students’ abilities to make appropriate judgments in high-stakes situations.

Wolf spent many days observing the participants in the program. He watched as the boys became more willing to open up about their personal lives to other students in the group and speak about their emotional vulnerabilities.

Students in the program often face difficult life circumstances. Many of them live in poverty or in dangerous neighborhoods, surrounded by violence. Just getting to and from school can be a harrowing experience.

Counselors push participants to describe “what are you actually nervous about, what are you actually scared about, what are the things that you’re dealing with in your everyday existence, walking home, walking to and from school,” Wolf said. “You’re not allowed to say that you’re fearful or worried about things, but in the BAM circle they’re able to uncover those feelings.”

“I think a big part of it is, they learn that the kid sitting across from them in the circle has those same fears, has those same anxieties and that it’s OK,” he went on. “It’s a human condition to show those things and it’s a common experience.”

The program does not tell students how to behave, or instruct them as to the “right” thing to do, instead leaving it to the students to decide that. The program emphasizes only that the students carefully consider their decisions instead of rushing to act….Read the Rest Here...

 
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Posted by on June 29, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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The Death of Victor White – Shot While Handcuffed

This one truly stretches all credulity. A man, arrested for a minor infraction – searched twice by two separate officers, shot himself in the chest, while sitting handcuffed with his hands behind him in the back of a Police Car.

But according to the full final report of the Iberia Parish coroner, which was released nearly six months later and obtained exclusively by NBC News, White was shot in the front, not the back. The bullet entered his right chest and exited under his left armpit. White was left-handed, according to family members. According to the report, the forensic pathologist found gunshot residue in the wound, but not the sort of stippling that a close-range shot can sometimes produce. He also found abrasions on White’s face.

And yet, despite the contradictions – and even though White’s hands were never tested for gunpowder residue – the Iberia Parish coroner still supported the central contention of the initial police statement issued back in March. Dr. Carl Ditch ruled that White shot himself, and declared his death a suicide.

Before Sandra Bland, there was Victor White: Why his death in police custody should have you outraged

It’s been 541 days since Victor White, a 22-year old black man from New Iberia, LA, was shot dead while handcuffed in the back of a state police cruiser. It’s been 358 days since the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Lafayette, LA launched its investigation into Mr. White’s death. And we’ve yet to hear an account of what happened to him. No one, it seems, can explain why this young man died with a hole in his chest.

Victor White

The circumstances surrounding White’s death are beyond suspicious. What little we do know raises more questions than answers. On March 2, 2014, White and a friend, Isaiah Lewis, walked to a local convenience store, where they purchased cigars. A fight erupted outside between two unidentified men. When the brawl ended, White and Lewis left on foot and were stopped by Corp. Justin Ortis of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.

After discovering a negligible amount of marijuana in White’s pocket, the officer detained him and called for backup. White was handcuffed with his arms behind him and placed in the back seat of the cruiser. What’s crucial to note is that before being detained, White was searched a second time for contraband and weapons – and no weapons were found. When the second officer arrived at the scene, White was transported to the local station for further questioning.

What happened after that remains a mystery.

What we know is that White never saw the inside of that patrol station. He died of a gunshot wound while detained in the squad car. According to the Sheriff’s Office, White became agitated and refused to leave the vehicle. If you believe the original police statement (and you shouldn’t), White then produced a handgun (while handcuffed) and managed to shoot himself in the back before the deputy could find help.

This story can’t be believed without suspending common sense. First, how is it possible that White had a gun on his person after being patted down twice? That isn’t remotely plausible. Even more suspicious are the contradictory reports filed by the police and the coroner’s office. The police claim that White shot himself in the back while the coroner’s report says he died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Adding to the confusion, the coroner, Dr. Carl M. Ditch, failed to address this inconsistency in his report. With no explanation whatsoever, he concluded (along with the Sheriff’s Office) that White’s death was “self-inflicted” – indeed he went so far as to call it a “suicide.”

Everything about this case invites skepticism. The details don’t add up. Local officials are refusing to comment further, hiding behind a pending federal probe, the progress of which remains unclear. This is a disgrace. What happened to Victor White in New Iberia is every bit as egregious as what happened to Freddie Gray in Baltimore or to Michael Brown in Ferguson or to Sandra Bland in Texas or to Samuel Dubose in Cincinnati or to Eric Garner in New York.

If there’s a difference, it’s that White’s death has received comparatively little coverage. New Iberia is a small town in a small state and even an injustice on this scale fails to capture the country’s attention the way others have. Consequently, local and federal officials in Louisiana have yet to feel the pressure and scrutiny of national media – that has to change….More…

. Yeah…And Freddie Gray killed himself…

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2015 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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