Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wichita NAACP to begin a Debate Program within the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch Juvenile Corrections facility



On January 23rd, the Wichita Branch NAACP will start a first-of-it's kind debate program at the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch (JRBR).

The JRBR serves male juvenile offenders with serious behavior problems from an urban setting, ages 13-17, that have been found guilty in juvenile court and ordered into state’s custody for placement outside their homes at a community-based residential program. Approximately 50% of the juveniles are in custody for misdemeanor offenses, after they have failed standard probation and intensive probation in the community. The other half are felony offenders, including those with convictions for person crimes such as aggravated robbery, aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. JRBR youth are typically very far behind in their education; many need outpatient substance abuse treatment, mental health care and counseling to address criminal behavior, anger management, empathy, grief and family issues.

Through our structured debate program, we will model and teach effective communication, critical thinking, rules of decorum, and conflict resolution skills, that will serve them long after they returned to their families and community. Through this program, we plan to drive down recidivism rates by working directly with juvenile offenders and at-risk youth and equipping them with the skills they need to express themselves in a positive manner, to advocate on their own behalf, to bring about change through reason, and to traverse difficult and trying situations without resorting to anger or anti-social behaviors.

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