Social Justice Monday: Changing the Criminal Justice System to Keep Teenagers Out of Jail and In School in King County
October 17, 2016
Unleash the Brilliance (UTB) is a youth organization that works directly with teen-aged students charged with truancy to redirect them from the court system back into school. UTB works through a peer-to-peer mentoring and supports the Truancy Diversion Program of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO).
This Social Justice Monday, featured the co-founders of UTB, Terrell Dorsey and Jorell Dorsey. It also featured Linda Thomas, the Truancy Coordinator for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (PAO) and several youth leaders for UTB. UTB won the 2016 Outstanding Partner Award from the PAO.
This novel criminal justice program, fueled by the passion and dedication of relentless volunteers, is changing the lives of youth throughout King County.
Terrell Dorsey, Founder/President of UTB. Terrell is also the Co-Director of the 180 Program that serves youth who are cited for relatively low-level crimes committed in King County. In both roles, Terrell has a duty and a passion to change the life trajectory of troubled teens towards the path of progress.
Jorrell Dorsey, Co-Founder of UTB. He recruits and trains new UTB Youth Leaders every year from local schools. He is also one of the main speakers for the organization. He enjoys sharing his personal story of adversity that was layered with daunting challenges to finding his strength back to success.
Linda Thomas, Truancy Coordinator for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Linda has worked for the KCPAO for 12 years and is devoted to helping youth at-promise graduate from high school.
Cierra Conley, UTB Youth Coordinator. She started working for UTB a month after she arrived in Seattle from West Virginia in 2015, and brings a heart full of compassion and understanding to the youth she meets. Her fundamental goal is to connect with the youth she engages during the workshop and earn their trust and friendship.
Marika Koroma, UTB Youth Leader. She is a high school senior in Federal Way and loves doing things to help others and making people happy.
Andres Arano, UTB Youth Leader. He enjoys supporting UTB and the King County Truancy Workshops. He believes it is one of the best ways to spend his energy.
Charlie Shih, UTB Youth Leader. She is a senior at the University of Washington focusing on sexual violence as a politicized issue. She is passionate about creating social change through education and the arts.
Interested in learning more? Here are some related books:
Research has shown that truancy is frequently associated with juvenile crime and dropping out of school altogether. With the high dropout rate in the U.S. and the No Child Left Behind Act holding schools accountable for their dropout rates, it is essential for school social workers to contribute to their schools’ improvement plan in meeting annual yearly progress benchmarks. This book, by well respected researchers and practitioners who have extensive experience with truancy, covers best practices in truancy at the community, school, and student/family levels of interventions. It provides an essential everyday reference guide to research-based programs and truancy program implementation.
Beginning with an introduction to the essentials of truancy, its causes and consequences, and state and federal legislation, the authors then give readers a snapshot of what research has shown to work so far and what adaptations might look like in various school settings. Richly detailed case examples illustrate multiple levels of intervention, from the school-wide prevention and general policy levels to remedial interventions, including culturally competent approaches. Eminently practical and easily accessible, with sample forms, methods of measuring outcomes, ideas for funding, take-away points, and digestible research summaries, this will be a trusted toolkit for school professionals seeking to reduce their schools’ dropout rates and improve students’ engagement with school.
School-based practitioners and student trainees alike will find a wealth of reliable information about what is seemingly an intractable problem. They can immediately begin implementing the proven and promising practices presented in this practical guide. – From the Publisher
Rita E. Guare and Bruce S. Cooper
How can we make schools more attractive to students? How do we engage them in their own education? This book treats the fundamental issue of whether students are ‘conscripts’ required by law to attend school, or whether (due to non-attendance) we should begin to see them as ‘consumers’ of their education. Key questions are asked to determine when students choose to skip school, how often, and why. Topics include: gender, ethnic/racial differences, academic standing, grade level, and school rules. This is an excellent book for administrators and supervisors, teachers, parents, school board members, and policy-makers who set programs for schools that affect attendance. – From the Publisher
Bruce A. Ryan
Gerald R. Adams
Thomas P. Gullotta
Roger P. Weissberg
Robert L. Hampton
Currently, only about 50% of American youths live in traditional two-parent, first-marriage families. This fact, combined with often bleak economic and social realities, creates the backdrop of interactions between families, children, and schools are examined in this probing volume. Answering a need for evaluative research in this area of increasing public interest, the contributors build a model for evaluation, focusing on the dynamics of family-school connections. How is school achievement influenced by parent-child interactions and the family environment? How do school, family, community, and peer-group connections affect early adolescents? What is the family’s role in the success of learning-disabled youth or in school truancy? What effect does parental discord and divorce have on a child’s learning? These questions, as well as proposals for intervention and prevention, create the crux of this book designed to inform and motivate readers to respond to one of our country’s most fundamental social concerns. Vital reading for everyone who wants to better understand child-school-community interaction, this book especially warrants reading by students, researchers, and other professionals in developmental psychology, family studies, psychology, and social work. – From the Publisher
If you were unable to attend this presentation, it is available via video recording here: Social Justice Mondays Recordings.