Prevention Of Crime - From the writings of David Hakim

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PREVENTION OF CRIME

Toward Establishing a Safer Society, Inc.

http://www.davidhakim.com/safer_society.htm 

As you are aware, crime and its aftermath is causing enormous trauma and loss of billions of dollars a year.  However, it has been shown that counseling, especially volunteer probation and parole aid counseling, is effective in reducing recidivism.

I was fortunate in being a volunteer for 10 years with the 32A District Court in Harper Woods, Michigan.  For a short period of time I also worked as a volunteer parole aide for the State of Michigan until the program was terminated because of lack of funds.  I also worked with Judge Keith J. Leenhouts who gained national recognition for his work with volunteers.  .

In 1967 Look magazine designated Royal Oak, Michigan as one of 7 cities in the United States to be called an All-American City. The  reason for this singular honor was the work of a young Judge (Keith Leenhouts), the 44th District Court, and the court's Probation Department.
Like many Judges, Keith Leenhouts was discouraged by what was happening in the system:  a defendant is brought in, tried, convicted, pays his/her fine and/or goes to jail, is put on probation, and then proceeds to go out and commit another crime within 3 years.
In 1960 Judge Leenhouts decided to begin a Volunteers-in-Probation program utilizing hundreds of community volunteers (he called them sponsors) to meet one-on-one with probationers for about 12 hours (many offenders would need less than 12 hours) each month. Judge Leenhouts described this technique, one where volunteers introduce their inspirational personality into the life of the offender, to befriend him/her, listen to him/her, and guide him/her through his/her critical first brush with the law.
The results were astounding. The Royal Oak Court utilizing the volunteers-in-probation program, over a 5 year period, had only 14.9% repeat offenders while a comparable court not using this program had 48.9% repeaters.

Some federal and state courts have used volunteers.   However, I believe the use of volunteers, male with male and female with female (and perhaps group therapy) in our courts needs attention.

“A Simple Gesture,” from Chicken soup for the soul: 101 stories to open the heart & rekindle the spirit [compiled by] Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, illustrates making a person your friend can save his life.  Also, I have never heard that being a volunteer probation counselor endangered his life.