Larissa Salazar grew up in Wyoming, and when she was in eighth grade, she got in a fight on a school bus. That snowballed into her spending 16 months in a state juvenile facility.
Reporter Tennessee Watson follows Larissa’s experience in the juvenile justice system in Wyoming, a state that locks up kids at the highest rate in the nation. Larissa’s mom says that instead of helping her daughter, the system made things worse.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Sustainable investigative reporting. Mp are ex. This is reveal a mallet
Jennifer Salazar, listen rocks, brings way on we're on a warm Saturday. In October she mean
help with importer, Tennessee Watson at apart on the edge of town planning and so creamy. Thereupon, not her house, partly because of the pandemic, and because Jennifer has something to share that her huh
Andrew isn't ready to talk about still hard for her too,
So I will tell you apologize now, but this is
My daughter passed away.
So if you notice I'm not wearing maker, and they brought climax thing, it's gonna be a little hard
spent three years is Jennifer and Andrews daughter Larissa died. She just turn sixteen when it happened
where the Y all me was a safe place to raise her two younger kids. I freaked me out. I raised Catherine, even though they say we always a good place to raise kids at my husband. Is there a risk that we take raising them here that they make a run stepping get into the system, and the same thing happens like I just I freaked me out. I get does the system
Jennifer's talking about
The juvenile justice system. Jenny
his daughter, the result was an eighth grade when she got to a fight on the school bus and debts
no bald into sixteen months in state juvenile facility.
The justice system was responding to a kid, with a lot more going on in her life and just one fight on the bus, but rather
for us. Is that system made things?
worse. These kids need help and
they are doing, is putting him in the system and saying here: you're gonna be away from your family for nine months to a year, and then you know, then, after that you're gonna be on probation again like how effective is that right
search, says it's not that
Many states are moving away from punishing kids, especially
if a low level or nonviolent offences. It turns out that doing things like lacking kid.
Doesn't change their behavior, so there's a push to create programmes that support troubled kids and keep them in
the community, but these reforms aren't a top priority everywhere. Handful of
continued a lot of kids at twice the national average and Wyoming tops the list
four believes that has,
a lot to do with, while Orissa is no longer alive today.
Tennessee Watson, pieced together lyricists experience with the juvenile justice system and has
story about why Wyoming so tough on kids.
The recent salazar was born and raised in rock springs. A mine
in town in South western Wyoming, pink and red rock view
stop the horizon and wild horses roam the sage cover desert right outside a town about twenty
Three thousand people live here. It's the biggest town
for over a hundred miles. Louis
early childhood here was an easy when she
little, her biological mom who's, not Jennifer struggled with drug addicts
and was entered out of jail. Her parents
but up when she was around five years old and her mom pretty much disappeared from the rest of life when her dad magic.
For, and they got married lyricist struggled to adjust but
spite those challenges.
Four says: Larissa was a kid with a big heart. She
one of those kids out were late.
non judgmental so late
you were gay or stray or if you are found
first skinny or if you you know
didn't, have the clothes at other kids had shoes or whatever shoots
One is still be your friend and she would
I gave her stuff to you
and just always wanting to like help people Jennifer found
old video of Larissa playing with her younger brother. Why
she has long brown, hair and a nose ring she sitting on the floor, while her brother run circles around her. I love you.
Loretta loved her family, but she had
rebellious side too. That's a com.
where kids respond to trauma and it got Larissa into trouble one night
She said she was going to a friends house for a sleep over, but instead
was hanging out with a group of kids.
The parliamentary school when her dad found
Larissa, took off running. He was in flip lapse and couldn't catch her and it was getting late, so they called the cops for help.
officers, brought there s a home and gave her a curfew ticket which meant she had to appear in municipal court. This is one of the ways by arming is different from other parts of the country in most states a juvenile court would handle this, but in my owning most of the time, kids end up in adult courts, Jennifer and think it was fair for Loretta. Have a curfew, violation on a record or to pay a fine when they called the cops for help. I went to court with her and they said well, we're gonna. Have you guys pay the fines and I was like now she needs till I do community service or something Jennifer says. The judge took her advice and put the research in a diversion programme. She had to agree to do some community service and to stay out of trouble in the curfew. Ticket would disappear and a dizzy Newark actually kind of Europe a little bed. She was, you know respectable and howl slake. She she was trying you know, and then she got sexually assaulted. You heard that right justice things were starting to turn around. The risk was sexually assaulted. It was the day after Christmas and the risk was sleeping over at a girlfriends house. Late at night, the girls nineteen year old brother came home and Jennifer says the result was the only one still up and the nineteen year old boy, one of dragging her inside of a room and sexually assaulted. Her Larissa decided to speak up about the assault and not turn
our closest friends into enemies. This
especially traumatic, because
until she met them, the rest
struggled to feel accepted at school? She was often bullied by other kids bullied for being chubby when she was little bullied for her free spirit.
a nineteen year old was prosecuted and plead guilty
The sexual abuse of a minor, an actor
Jennifer says his younger sister started harassing Clarissa school such shaming, her and telling her she wanted it and get.
Other kids too bad mouse Clarissa too
Jennifer says Larissa put up with a bullying four months, but with just a few weeks of school left, she decided to strike back
she was on the bus and sheep.
She said they won't stop mom. They won't stop telling everybody on the bass. What happened in it so hard for meeting
keep hearing what happened, air
I said just now:
the bus and just come home and
Do something different next year we will, you, know
she was like
I'm gonna physically assault, one of them because I'm empire they were sitting right in back of her.
And they were saying, like I'm, gonna hurt you like I'm going to do this, you they are pulling her hair and she had had enough
when the bus stop, she got up and she punch one of them in their mouth the can.
Was filed in juvenile airport and the result was charged with battery which can
He's a maximum sentence of six months, but the judge put her on probation
An Jennifer says at first that seemed like a good thing:
but then when she was on probation, they treated her like K. Your comment,
you're on probation, like theirs,
you know this theirs
there is no other help. You know what I'm saying: you're just on probation you're, going to follow the rules and to follow the rules of your house. You can follow the rules at school and, if you don't
you're gonna be sent away. You know
I'll tell you when you were watching this happening, I wasn't fair. Did you have any tools? As apparent
we addressed it with them a couple times. They were just cycle she's on probation and she has rural. She asked of olive oil,
first, as the risk was still reeling from the sexual assault, but that trust
got kind of lost in the shuffle juvenile probe
officers monitor who kids are hanging out with what they're doing
social media, whether there,
heaving at home, as well as their great?
and attendance at school, bad friends,
bad grades, aren't crime, but on probation it can get
it sent away
This isn't unique to Wyoming, but it happens here. More
and then went therein probation. That's the real slippery slope, Cassie Sizemore
when a teacher and rock springs since the nineteen eighties shooting
have Larissa student, but she's taught a lot of kids who ve been on probation. I complained to the kid is like
now on the radar and every
nothing, you do it's gonna be scrutinised and, whereas other kids get away with it, you won't be able to
and if you do enough naughty things or continue those behaviors that got you there in the first place. Eventually your problem,
might be revoked and I'll take you back to court, and so the job
It can then say: well, this isn't working less, send you to a placement and the
but of being incarcerated. First slipping up on probation is real. According to data from the. U S, department of Justice, Wyoming locks up,
its reprobation violations at a rate well above the national average higher than me.
states and other states with small populations
the risk of resented the power probation had over her life, even though she
doesn't chart with drug related offence. She was required to do
teen urine analysis or you
at the juvenile Probation Office Jennifer says for a thirteen year old
kid who just been sexually assaulted. That wishes to mine
Having to like. Do you in front of somebody sugary struggled with her body
feeling like self conscious
and so like every time she would have to go. Do you probation standing in there? She would come out. You cry to me.
and tell me how demeaning it was that she didn't want awake, be like
suppose infernal somebody and it might
on simple: don't do drugs,
ass, the USA being
on probation and you won't be sent away
further Orissa behaving was hard because of the intense emotion she felt,
that's not unusual. According to research from the Justice Department, which says up to seventy per
of juvenile offenders, have diagnosed
mental health condition, often caused by trauma.
because teen brains are fully developed. They often make a rational decisions anyway, in the
this case after asking a friend for alcohol on Facebook,
she was scared. Her probation agent would see and send her away. She panicked and took a bunch of pill,
I was on my way to go to Walmart and she comes running out to the driveway, and I said oh you're going to go so I open the car door thinking. She was just going to jump in and go and she said no
It took some pills
took a whole bunch of them and
I'm gonna die from it and I
instantly planets and I refer to the ear walrus.
was treated with charcoal to absorb the pills. Jennifer sat with her in the hospital.
She looks at me and she says: dispute
leaving terror that that people get
Salted and that their,
I have certain over the same
I care in. She said
does anybody else and I said
think they do said. Hoddan
care when and put on
nation and I'm sure
It's like a criminal who said I hate
I hate probation may hate that I can't just be a normal kid.
After the suicide attempt, adjudged settle Orissa to a psycho spittle on the opposite side of the state for a few weeks, then directly to the girls
a state juvenile facility
and of her. So she wanted to give Clarissa arrived from the hospital to the girl school to ease
the transition, but that wasn't aloud
and I asked if she could come home. I said world. Can we visit her? You know what
then she said no organ transport more directly from their beauty. I Christians.
Who runs the Wyoming Girls School says most of the girls centre. The facility have been through some trauma, that's
judges send girls. They're judges know that when the kids get here, they are gonna get therapy
and good schooling and
they're gonna be safe, and I think that plays into it. The place feels like a
boarding school with a big quad, surrounded by dorms, with views of the mountains in the distance the girls can
leave. So even though it doesn't look like incarceration, it is Chris
The goal is to help girls not punish them. It's a less
and she learned years ago, when a girl wouldn't take a baby sitting class and this young woman refused to go. She threw it so she got a consequence. We address the behaviors gonna consequence and her
purpose came to me on Monday and said you know she was severely molested by a babysitter and it was just like you know: the scales fall off. We soft address behavior, but if you Anderson
What's behind the behaviour which driving to be heavy rather than just addressing the behaviour, then you have the hope of changing it permanently. Chris S,
sent away from your community and family is dramatic enough. Her goal is not
Add to that. Jennifer.
Says: the separation was hard on the Orissa, but this
desires made the five our track. Sometimes
as icy roads to visit as often.
as they could. Jennifer saw,
Loretta, had access to activities that were hard to come by at home and rock springs there be their help to rebuild trust with her family
horseback riding yoga made her feel good and she was into the small classes and individualised learning,
Christian says it's: when girls go home that thinks father,
is their successful here that spring, but the key is
making that true.
stir into the home community,
and not every community, is on board without trauma, unformed approach or makes it as
see for kids to stay engaged in positive activities? Jennifer has the discharge
papers from lyricist trip to the girls school, which
she was both scared and excited about going back to rock springs, says
although she has skills to avoid resorting to all the negative for behaviors. She knows it:
the many pressures, and it will be after her to think of consequences before she axe she matured.
eight months at the girl school, but Orissa was put right back on probation when she got home because
every time they release them than there are there on probation again and
in four months, she was back at the girl school for violating her probation, Jennifer
Loretta got caught, sneaking out of the house. Drink
and hanging out with someone on her no contact list that just I don't know he seems very hard to me, but
my husband just a disobeyed, because here under a court order and that's what you do,
I'm calling the shots on the recent case was Nina. James
two thousand nineteen. She stepped down after running the juvenile court and Sweetwater County for close to twenty years.
She doesn't remember the specifics of lyricists case, but was willing to talk.
more generally about her approach to juvenile justice. I think real reason. I was so passionate about kid this because I have kids, my own, I sat there is a must,
as much as a judge, she says she wanted what was best for kids and that met holding them to high standards, something she was worried, wasn't happening at home or in school. Kids are allowed to retake pass that they do bad
and I'm always thinking what is bad about
preparing kids for the workforce. They can not do
our work on time, this is awful.
when kids appeared in her court the buck stop there. Her approach was to hold them
council and hopefully get them back on track, and so I saw out of home placement in some cases is a very, very beneficial thing to one keep the kid say
people, my wife for you can
album and then too, you know get em that help the
swaying in the resources that we didn't have locally. This is
something I heard a lot in my reporting.
Why homing is so huge and many counties have such small populations? They can't support local programmes to help kids, who ve gotten in trouble, but Judge Jane
says sending kids away is not just about resources. She believes it
so teaches them an important lesson and hope
while they were out of their homes. They can't grew up a little bit. Sometimes you have to have things tat.
and away from you before. You understand how much really like me in all James says
he's heard positive feedback. I have gotten
many letters from so many kids who have told me
that if I hadn't intervened in their lives, they wouldn't be where they are
I talk to people who said that too, but Jennifer has some different feedback for Judge James. She says during that second stinted. The girl school Larissa lost, hope that she'd ever get out of the system being sent back change Larissa and not for the better. She learned things in their there. I don't think she would ever learn at home. You know self mutilation how to strangle yourself and tell you can breathe anymore and you pass out when you wake up like I don't know they. Can we didn't do that? I home Jennifer told me she was worried about Orissa safety. Her daughter wasn't the same person anymore. The psychological harm cues, like the recent experience when their uprooted from their families schools in communities is one. Many states are working to reduce juvenile incarceration, but why arming is resisting it? There's no one holding them accountable. Then what motivation do they have to change their broken when we come back the reasons why warming is in changing course when it comes to juvenile Josephs? Your listening to reveal support for this. Podcast comes from. U S. C
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from the centre for investigative reporting MP, are ex. This is reveal. I'm outlets will look
Yet why all means high juvenile incarceration rate and why the state
has done little to address the problem of Tennessee wants and take a look at what standing in the way and what that means for
It's like the races, Salazar.
when the risk came home from her second trip to the girls school, the transition was rough. She was very clear that, unlike what
share a lot of stuff. The risk
had been gone for sixteen months, even though her initial charge for battery carries a maximum six month sentence and, after all,
at time. She barely knew her two younger siblings, who were just two and four.
Nay almost felt like they were strangers. You know Jennifer
says the Orissa felt disconnected at school to she felt behind from like the girl
school like regular, high school
She didn't have a group of friends anymore. She'd now been away two years, almost shadow law,
to adjust to and must still dealing with, the pressure of being back on juvenile probation.
The office where kids go to meet with their probation agent and to do yearn analysis is in the basement of a building in downtown rock springs. The waiting area has bowls of candy and condoms, their motivational posters on the wall and I'm here to meet with.
Karen Kelly, I am the director of Sweetwater County juvenile probation she's, worked in the,
programme for over twenty years.
What do you see in your work that makes you feel like yeah? This is making a difference. We really well,
I'm kind of elbows. Little wins the key
who has failed mass for a year passed a math test on Friday. That's a win
The ultimate goal is for kids to complete probation, but Karen says that's definitely challenging one student.
Juvenile, who doesn't have substance, abuse issues passing though structure
is a very easy part of their probation another.
who has academic
problems. There were parent
going to school every day and being on tender classes and making progress and doing the best. You can a school that somehow
becomes the hard part
It is hardly think hard when you get in the system to work herself back out. That is difficult.
but she says not every kid who violates probation is immediately sent away. They try fur
to refer them to services like tutoring and counselling to see. If that helps, and so we can make those referrals we can help with those interventions, but it really is up to that juvenile I'm at family to take advantage of that and
some do in some doubt
Karen says: there's a balance between helping kids and holding them to what the prosecutor and judge ordered we are.
Here trying to help them comply with that forward.
we don't have a lotta with environmentally leeway any more than the kid does. Jennifer
as beyond counselling. There wasn't much else to help Clarissa stay on track, the girl school off,
structured positive activities.
Karen says. Probation doesn't provide that it's a lot:
Jackson, referring in
identifying what other community programmes are there, but we don't provided a lot of that programming she'd like
offer more, but she says the county doesn't have the money. So how many kids,
get through probation and how many are sent away care
I can answer that which she immediately realises is a problem. It s very, very depressing, but I'll have answers to it. I should have answers to
That's because in Wyoming each county decides what to do when kids get in trouble and they all do it differently
some counties believe incarceration is necessary. Others don't something.
It's too. Adult courts, while others send them to juvenile courts or a mixture of both.
top of that. My homing doesn't require counties to follow what happens to kids once there in the system. So there's
wait, a track, whether kids are being rehabilitated or not. You not
to collect data to show that it not working it much easier to stick to it. That's John tool.
From the Robert F Kennedy National Resource Centre for juvenile justice. He spent the last
twenty five years. Helping communities rethink, how they deal with kids, who get in trouble, but he has worked in my opening. He says: that's because juvenile justice just hasn't been a priority for the state, are made aware of the tragedy.
why arming may I may have a corner on the market for many years. Wyoming was the only state not to participate in the juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention ACT.
The nineteen. Seventy four legislation provides
federal funds to states that agree to do things like
increase the use of incarceration for low level offences and to monitor racial and ethnic disparities from
in ten nineteen sixty two thousand one John work for the Department of Justice administering the programme, but he says why arming decline, the federal dollars and continued to do things its own way there, the long history of that out into
oh shit, unbearable out of a job or to the total Govern John says that partnership ended up helping kids in many states and while many missed out
The interesting thing is John used to believe more in punishment, then rehabilitation in mind
on the day I guarantee
I worked against what the research with Jerry works now
for working at the d o J he worked.
The juvenile probation agent in Virginia for close to twenty years. My approach was revived,
all them accountable to the conditions that were imposed by the court, then I'll have to structure from discipline,
and from ability to overcome adversity and that's what my job was. But
and John says he realized. He was just pushing kids deeper into the system and not helping.
Overcome the trauma instability causing their delinquent behaviour. He says programmes that give kids,
positive interactions and experiences and focus.
Helping them feel safe and supported, make the biggest difference, but
on their not lessen the hard way. I think
I had a role in the ultimate demise.
We can't get. I work at it with their own shop demise by suicide
and that heartbreaking realization.
come right away.
You bet I had personally with their passing.
If you look at a different approach, that will be
to Hollywood? I didn't feel that way at the time
he says, he was able to overlook those tests, because there was no oversight
he was holding kids accountable for their actions, but no one
was holding him accountable. He says: that's! What's up
Did you tell him anecdotal story that might should devise you just got me if they dont have
doubts or data there not forced to confront the fact that what they're doing is unsuccessful works against what the researchers and who pays.
what you kids like Clarissa and that's what Jennifer,
didn't want to talk about in front of her house
and Andrew when she arranged to meet with me at the park.
Jennifer, says when Larissa came back from her second trip to the girls school and must put on probation,
He had an all time low, it's almost like going into depression and I reached up
probation and her people
officer wasn't there, but I touched the supervisor and myself
I don't know how to help her. I said she's, not
doing like she's. Not bad in the home like she was very respectable, like she was doing what
He used to do. I said, but I see there's
something going on with her emotion. Jennifer says she wanted probation to ease off to let Larissa adjust to school. She
provision to call and tell the research she was doing a good job and
This is why all your probation officers not in right now, I can leave a message. We can try to call her, maybe schedule a meeting, and I said why I kind of need this to happen. Late asap
the feeling is not right to me. I said
I mean that we need to do something for her. You know
it's! Ok, where we can figure it out I'll give you a back.
Jennifer says she made that call on Tuesday.
two days later. Andrew
Loretta dead in her room. She taken her own life
even to the last week of her life. You know I called, and I tried begin Hofer Jennifer says Larissa was failed,
Is it fair to lay the racist staff entirely at the feet of biometrics? Juvenile justice system probably not
Sadly, there were too many traumatic sayings and the risk of life to isolate just one cause of her suicide. She
the ups and downs mentally from the time she was a little kid, but from Jennifer's perspectives,
given our justice system made things worse, which
benefited more from not being institutionalized.
Having more interaction lake here,
locally to where she
get help that she needed, and you know like still be here with us.
I went to meet with the two juvenile probation agents, who worked lyricists case Diana
Elton and Crystal red
I wanted to know if there is a suicide made them rethink their work. Not make me rethink
anything, but it is just you feel for that fact.
I want you, you never forget any of that.
Crystal says. While she doesn't one hundred percent agree with everything about the juvenile justice system, she thinks they do more good than harm. I think there is a lot of pressure
but life has a lot of pressure, and you have to learn that adults
where's handle the pressure all that well either. She was a good kid and it was. It was terrible what happened, but a lot of parents say well you're, putting a lot of stress from occurred here, you're you're, putting a lot of trust.
My family. I don't really know how to say, and I don't
One is sound rude, but we do not put you here.
and once kids end up on probation. There are limited options. Diana crystal can offer them, no matter how,
They may want to help judge Gary
Hartman says Wyomings use of probation and incarceration has more
the systems. Own momentum, then, what's actually good for kids boroughs better,
tradition to say, you're gonna, be
in court. You're gonna have to answer for this, and I think that's a hard thing to break is difficult to determine,
Germany, when Herman was a juvenile court judge, he tried to serious district in a new direction. He looked into
sure workers and educators who knew the kids who ended up in this courtroom and as a team
they may decisions about what would help the most that approach became,
state law and now
All juvenile court judges have to take recommendations from a community team.
People who serve on those teams say they end up sending kids away to places like the girl school because regional
his aren't available locally right now, Herman says
there's no incentive to change that the state is the one about. We pay the bill when these kids going to placement, in other words its cheap,
four counties to send troubled kits away because it's the state
first, the cost. So instead of working in the community to try and solve the problem, I think prosecutors and
This too will stand to carry out the set aside
at a mind: we're not gonna worry bottom for six or eight month. We'll worry about him on a comeback.
and four counties that want to build programmes to keep kids out of the justice system and in their own communities. Damon.
we pay for that on their own, because the state sets aside very little money for that. But even if the state gave money to counties for local programmes from the moon is gonna solve the problem of keeping the kids in Virginia
That's because the state provides very little oversight right now
counties aren't forced to measure whether there actually helping kids
to find out if the state was willing to put that kind of pressure on counties. So I
The governor mark, Gordon hey. It's ten.
De calling he's Europe.
again who's been in office for two years. What role
The states play in reducing juveniles
our situation rates
Hence the you know. Obviously it's an evolving issue, and so I think that conference,
asian and to spread wide level is is very valuable.
But the issue, and why aiming for a long time has been dealt with on a local level, and we are a local control, stayed in that
I was then in a sort of a tradition there, but that tradition has costs
ass for young people who end up incarcerated at higher rates cost for them.
on term well being because this
its model doesn't require counties to prove their approach is working and its cost
The state a lot of money
Do what we are doing is spent on juvenile justice for the last ten years and Sweet
but our county, where Larissa
from cost us.
more than any other county, and it's mostly for sending kids to juvenile facilities.
Butter spends more than even the most populated county home to this day, capital Cheyenne. This is at a time when my homing needs to save money. The state gets most of its revenue from taxes on coal, oil and gas, but with those industries in decline, the state budget,
been shrinking and that's only
worse with the pandemic, given
the financial situation, wherein why not put some pressure?
on the counties to try and figure out a more
but a more effective way to deal
with a troubled kids, you know
terms. Is that the term pressure my answers, it's much better as a conversation
Then we're all can arrive at a much better solution and I think the point you are making about community based approaches. Those are always better, but we have had a
massive change in our revenue picture, huge reductions, and I think everybody just trying to get through to the next day before we have a chance
really sit down, there can Alice, reallocate our resources,
stay revenue is gone down so much the governor, Gordon, is calling for across the board budget. Cuts daddy
foods eliminating the small amount the state does give for community based programmes, even though the research says they're more effective than incarceration.
in the meantime, prosecutors and judges are not being asked to send fewer kids away
If I only wanted to figure out how to help kids who get in trouble and at the same time save money it would
I have to look far to get ideas. Next up we go to South Dakota, that's
they had high juvenile incarceration raids like Wyoming, but in the
as five years decided
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From the centre for investigative reporting, MP are ex, this is reveal a mallet when we met Jennifer Salazar at the park. She was thinking about leaving. Why arming she didn't want to take a chance on her younger children getting caught in its juvenile justice system like her daughter, the resident, if Jennifer one of the finest state that taking a different approach to kids who run into trouble, she could go to South Dakota. It's just one state over to the east and for many years was similar to why yeoman with high juvenile incarceration rates but then sell the quota cut onto what a lot of other states had already figured out. Kids who are incarcerated are more likely to get in trouble again. Where's kids, who receive support close to home or not so South Dakota decided to change direction. Tennessee Watson picks up the story in a rural community. That's trying this new approach to juvenile Justice Mitchell's out there
It has been claimed to fame, is the corn palace, the buildings
Syria is decorated with mosaics, made from different colored corn colonels. I catch a glimpse,
on my way to meet Katy Bush baulk at the local wreck centre
waiting outside. For me, with a big smile on her face
Davis in county where Mitchell is located and it's her job to keep kids out of lock up.
And in the community that includes cordoned
a diversion programme to keep them out of the court's today Katie's.
something new, because she knew
a lot of the kids in your programme, weren't involved in
your school activities do you know why that's happening
I would say a lot of it is
dad or at work, maybe their second job, and they can't take them too. You know
Appointments are to practices, and things like that. So it makes it hard for some of those kids to be able to do that, but that uncivil
as time after school is when kids get in trouble, so she started up
program on Wednesday evenings to give them a little extra support and she asked the rex
hosted because every
You can get a right here on a school bus, Katie's,
acting three girls to show up today,
and ass, they arrive volunteer. Actually answer is pulling out art supplies, but actually
not in our teacher she's, a lawyer who takes Korda point
cases to represent low income families and she felt frustrated by the EU.
now, justice system, I felt sort of helpless in the courtroom like I can.
Sentencing argument any day. But really, I don't feel like I'm, never helpful if you're kind of stuck with whatever parameters are available and for a long time, probation or incarceration felt like the only options for kids who got in trouble
It sent away, but she wasn't sure they get what they needed sticking around town. She says
it is work, is given her and the kids a local option. I helped me immensely in my job as a defence trade tonight Ashley's facilitating a workshop on smash booking. It's like a face dear unless organised version of scrap booking, though we're gonna start out, focusing on the negative emotions by it'll, and she s
girls in the group to share negative thoughts. They have about themselves that might get them in trouble and eighth greater who,
this by the name. Marie jumps in entering snow dash for Marie is hard to hear through her mask she's talking about
killing pressure from friends to drink and smoke and actually
helps Marie think through how that leads to negative feelings about herself the negative idea.
About what they think of you. If you say now will be your friend of all
then that's perfect
actually asked the girls to write some of those negative beliefs on a blank sheet of paper, and the girls spend some time Marge purging over the negativity, with layers of positive words and images they ve cut from Magazine Marie
us tonight was helpful. She had realized how the pressure from friends do drugs impact at her self esteem
saying just something that I struggle with.
Engines. I've been rendered them for so long
It's just hard to drop friends like close with,
just how come you're here in their non
tat was the most things they did in fine
then get better. I want to stop so it's probably the best anyway. Even
it realizations like that. Katy says
if your doesn't change right away? It doesn't matter. If it's a kid or an adult, I mean we, we all make poor choices at some point in this gonna take repetition to learn that so be it
saying. Ok, we try to diversion one time with you and you should have learned now. You're gonna have to face the consequences were teaching them how
to make a better decision? The next time this approach
isn't just about being nice, it's
It's on the well researched fact that kid's brains are different from adults, the frontal lobe
the controls how we respond to our emotions isn't fully developed until we're in our twenties. In other words,
Katy says: kids are just hardwired to do stupid, stuff,
and no amount of punishment is going to change. That, but fear
out the stresses kids are feeling and giving them steady. Positive reinforcement does help them make
better choices: Katie's
is to coordinate that support
but not so long ago, Katie's job didn't exist.
So what changed wealth from us too
gates. South Dakota had the highest juvenile incarceration rates in the country right along
with Wyoming in South Dakota. Seventy percent of the
its incarcerated there we're locked up for low love
offences, poor violating probation. This was
casting the state. A ton of money up to one honey
in forty four thousand dollars per kid a year, and it didn't work nearly huh
the young people released from state facilities were locked up again within three years. Those numbers cod,
tension of republican Governor Dennis do guard.
He also saw that states that move towards community based alternatives,
lower recidivism rates and we're
saving money he wanted that for South Dakota,
but he had to convince lawmakers who thought kids who broke rules should be put,
and sent away. The argued
that. It would save money, help win them over
in two thousand fifteen do guard sign comprehensive juvenile justice reforms into law,
the time he gave his state of this date address in two thousand and seventeen South Dakota.
was starting to see results now the statutory
Most of our juvenile justice system is rehabilitation and locking up you.
It has been shown to make them more likely to commit crimes, as adults
The reforms invested six point: one million dollars and expanded community based treatment, weaving
I've years of those reforms. The total number of incarcerated youth and South Dakota declined by half so
The juvenile corrections budget. From close,
thirty million dollars down to fifteen South Dakota funnels upon
sure of that savings back to communities that run success.
Four diversion programmes
in my opening incentives like that? Don't exist
daddy's programme and Davis and County has seen success in part because of how it color
The rates with schools
Jane they'll, welcomes me into a conference room he's the director of Mitchell
alternative high school second chance academy- he says before Celtic,
those juvenile justice reform, he watched, kids doubts in and out of the city
he's gone for six months a year, whatever
what we had notices when when they would come back, they were ok,
for about a week,
but then, after that, basically
oh hell broke loose in her gone again.
the frustration was: how are you going to help
These individuals become stronger,
community members if there
the community, if they don't really learn
How to be
citizen within the community chains.
Schools now play an important role in keeping its local, because staff spend a lot of time with them when they see bad,
hey you're or mental health issues. They can intervene before
things spiral out of control. This is a very frustrating population to deal with
You have to set aside your own
frustration and understand
just watched his mother get big to uphold.
and now you want to do forty
It's not gonna happen because,
he is not functioning situated emotionally to handle that right now changed.
The key to supporting kids who are struggling is making sure they show up at school. That's where Katy Bush,
in addition to coordinating the counties, diversion programme shall go, find kids who are
I love going to get kids to take on the school favorite thing in the world, behind not being sarcastic long going and thinking kids up in the morning and help you don't get to school artists, tenant bacon.
bright spot in the day on me. Silly goofy plays a music on the way to school. This house
always been Katie's M, o once upon a time,
She was a juvenile probation agent playing hardball with kids who cut class, but get this shit
lost that job because of South Dakota Juvenile Justice reform is therefore not been in. Your job was caught and Real Elizabeth Great for kids. Are you live with the? How I was not excite ahead? I can be a hundred per cent on us about that. I was thinking this
It's going to be terrible to see like an uprising in crime. The kids are in
gonna be out of control, nobody's gonna be held accountable, but that
not the case was
However, it was a second played opposite. The kids are given the chance to make.
Damn decision and be a kid, but not having to be a criminal, because they ve made that that decision
How did you make that transition like from the probation mentality to where you are now? What like, what was it that helped you
it was honest.
seeing the numbers and how the diversion was working. If I was not in charge of seeing those numbers in the statistics of the success in the programme, I think it would have been really hard for me to actually rat my brain around, that it does work
Katy has that data, because South Dakota requires that counties track. What happens?
kids in the justice system
The number show before the reforms when Morgan
we're being sent away about. Fifty percent of them would.
In trouble again. Katy says for kids in her programme, its about eight percent.
and the data shows what still needs improving like how their desperate
Fortunately, more young people of color entering the system
Katy says she wants to bring that number down and Davis and County, and for each kid who complete
Katie's diversion programme, the state pays the county too.
hundred and twenty dollars, there's a reward for it in two different aspects: certain financial reward, but there is also the reward that this casing unbecoming back into the system and we're not it
plugging this kid in and creating the criminal not creating a criminal, that's after
or what the juvenile justice system is supposed to do. But after looking
this issue for the past year at striking how different juvenile, just
this can look from one state to another. Wyoming puts its my
it towards sending kids away to incarceration South Dakota funnels
Anita communities to give kids the support they need close to home. I took
I learned back to Jennifer Salazar,
daughter of Orissa took her own life after years in way combings juvenile justice system. Here's what
had to say. I think, in fact, that
here, and while many like I mean we live in a beautiful day there, a great people here like why haven't we employ,
something like that, but that by our children can be
better and our future.
Well, meaning might have the highest rate of juvenile incarceration, but West Virginia Alaska
Nebraska in Oregon, also lack of kids at nearly
twice the national average. It's up to those
It's to decide whether that's a problem. They want to fix
the federal government doesn't have the authority to said juvenile justice policy or to make states follow,
what the research says is good for kids are show this week was produced by Tennessee Watson in Abrams Niemann, fellow for local investigative reporting. She had helped this week from
ADA loosen bar
You tell the need is edited the show, thanks Wyoming public media and South Dakota Public Broadcasting Victoria there,
excuse, our general Council
managers Amy, Mustafa original score and sound designed by the dynamic dual J Breezy, Mr Jim Briggs, Fernando my man, Yo Aruba that help this week.
Bread, Simpson and immediate unnatural
producer Sarah Mark or seals Crystal sharper sue me. Agora walls are acting editor in chief and our executive producer is Kevin. Solving our theme, music,
by camaraderie, lightning support for reveals, provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John Dene Catherine Team, Macarthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the housing, Simons Foundation, the democracy fund.
maybe in as much foundation reveal is
production of the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs, I'm Alison and remember there is
more to the story
Transcript generated on 2021-04-05.