To positively influence the lives, attitudes, and values of incarcerated Youthful Offenders. Reshaping how they see the world through a structured and safe environment that promotes accountability and family treatment facilitated through partnerships with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office, Inmate Programs, and our community.
To create a safe and secure detention environment that services the needs of our Youthful Offender population by emphasizing personal responsibility, education, and positive growth and development. Through dedication, commitment, and sound management practices we will create an environment that promotes positive change in the lives of our incarcerated youth.
Being able to identify the developmental and educational needs of the youth and seek viable resource options to address those needs.
MAKE UP OF OUR POPULATION
The number of Youthful Offenders is rising and according to jail statistics, the Youthful Offender’s (ages 16 and 17) population in the Mecklenburg County Jail has doubled since 2000. (Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office Research and Planning Unit). With the increased numbers of Youthful Offenders, crowding jails and prisons, it is imperative that the importance of advocacy be revisited. Better research methods are being examined and evaluated as an aid in continuous improvement and the effectiveness of educating our Youthful Offenders internally so that Youthful Offenders can reconnect as law-abiding citizens. Many of our youth previously are low performing, from fragile communities and have missed many days in traditional educational settings. They may have been diagnosed with a mental health disability and can be identified as educationally challenged. It is our mission to provide a bridge for their educational, therapeutic, social and physical needs. We intend to get them back on track in a traditional education setting to achieve either a diploma or a G.E.D. as well as provide resources for success during reentry.
District style classrooms which are a part of the Right Choices/Alternative Education program of the CMS system. Students receive full academic and attendance credit. Courses offered are English, Social Studies, PE, Math and Science.
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS
Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation's largest and most effective dropout prevention organization, helping young people stay in school, successfully learn, and prepare for life by connecting needed community resources with schools. By forming partnerships with human service agencies, businesses, civic groups, faith communities, and individual volunteers, CIS connects children and families to the relationships and resources they need to be successful. CIS of Charlotte-Mecklenburg currently serves more than 5,000 students annually in 42 selected Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
The scope of current CIS programming includes school-based dropout prevention for grades K-12; college access and career exploration; support for teen mothers balancing the challenges of childcare and high school graduation; and working with youthful offenders housed at Jail North/Jail Central to continue their education.
The COOOL program (Changing Our Outlook On Life) is conducted by Changed Choices, which is an organization that works with incarcerated women. The program is available to all female youthful offenders as a resource while incarcerated as well as following their release. While in jail they meet with a mentor individually once a week and in a group setting twice a week. After their release they are encouraged to continue their relationship with their mentor, as well as the Changed Choice Program.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE EDUCATION
Taught by the Women’s Commission, these classes are provided to youthful offenders as core component of the comprehensive coping strategy curriculum. Youth are taught how to develop positive relationships, control negative emotions and effective anger management techniques.
GENERAL EDUCATION DIPLOMA
This program is another option for youth who have not completed high school and want to explore other options to obtaining a diploma.
JOB READINESS COMPONENT
This course is designed specifically for youthful offenders and teaches techniques on how to obtain and keep jobs, manage finances and start a business.
An interactive program designed to help high school youth (ages 14-19) resist substance use and develop coping skills. It is taught in both English and Spanish. This school-based program consists of 5 2 hour lessons that include motivational activities, social skills training, and decision-making components that are delivered through group discussions, games, role-playing exercises, videos, and student worksheets over a 1 week period.
YOUNG ADULT PERSONAL LIFE SKILLS
Students will work on developing BE-Print (Human Blueprint) consisting of what principles they want to live and set goals that support them. Subject matter includes relationships, financial independence, health and education.
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT NETWORK TEAM (YNET)
The program identifies youth who are in need of Mental Health Services, establish family service partnerships before release, reduce likelihood of repeated incarceration, stabilize mental health and prepare family for the youth’s return home. YNET provides assessments, therapy services for the incarcerated youth, Intensive In Home Services, Multi-systemic Therapy (MST), Educational Transition Services, Physical Health Screens, full Psychological Assessments, Intensive Therapeutic Foster Care, and Parent Support.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE AWARENESS
The instruction provided by Area Mental Health to students provides cognitive motivation enhancement activities to not use drugs, detailed information about the social and health consequences of drug use, and correction of cognitive misperceptions. The program addresses topics such as stress management, coping skills, tobacco cessation techniques, all to counteract risk factors for drug abuse relevant to older teens.
A 4 week male involvement program aimed at teaching and developing social responsibility skills to young adults. This program is based on a short rites of passage for developing young men and reshaping how they view and value themselves. This course is taught by the Mecklenburg County Health Department.