Opinion: The key to change

POSTED: 11/8/12 2:06 PM

Whenever we see young kids end up in the courtroom to answer to charges for armed robbery we always wonder what makes these kids tick. The explanations they give to the judge are mostly half-truths or outright lies so they offer little insight.

Yesterday we were looking at a 16-year-old boy who got slapped with a demand for a 30-month prison sentence. It helped that the prosecutor made 10 months conditional (meaning that he does not have to serve them), but there was something else. In March of this year the same boy had already been sentenced to a 12-month conditional sentence with 3 years of probation. The prosecutor asked the court to execute this sentence, since the boy had committed a new crime during his probation. That will send him to jail for 32 months of which he theoretically has to serve two third, so a bit more than 20 months.

We don’t know where the verdict is going yet, but this boy just threw a big part of his youth away.

And why? According to the prosecutor because he wanted money.

If we have to believe the boy he had just met up with some other guy who told him, let’s go rob that supermarket. And just like that, with a 12-month prison sentence hanging over his head, he picked up a stick, or so he says, and he went along with this “friend” who happened to have a gun on him – the tool of the trade for the modern armed robber.

Like real amateurs, they happened to rob a supermarket at the very buy valium in bali moment a police patrol passed by. Our boy attempted to flee and got shot by the police. The bullet hit him in his behind and he must have sat quite uncomfortably for a while.

His attorney says that the boy has learned his lesson and everybody wants to believe this. But we simply don’t know whether this is true or not and that is because no real efforts have been made to find out why the boy went along with the plan to rob the store.

The why of his actions is the key to change. As long as the real reasons remain under the surface – either because the boy refuses to talk about them or because the right questions are not asked – chances are that he will continue doing what he started doing at the tender age of sixteen as soon as he gets out of jail.

That’s not good for the boy and it certainly is not good for the community. Elsewhere on this page we write about the millions our government wishes to pump in all kinds of lofty projects. Unfortunately funding for proper programs to dig into the behavioral problems part of our youth is clearly struggling with, is hard to find. And yet, this is a priority. We could build ten Justice Parks and still not have enough cells to house derailed and criminalized young people, just because we fail to invest in education in the development of social skills among those youngsters.

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