In addition to being a self-help group, the Straight Life Program offers an invaluable service to the local community. The program was initiated in July 1986. Of the juveniles that participate in the program, 15% will completely turn their lives around. Another 33% will dramatically improve their behavior. Since its inception, over 11,180 juveniles and their families have participated. In addition, the program has made over 182 presentations to public schools and other agencies. The program has also served 3,294 minors from juvenile hall, group homes, and other juvenile diversion programs, of which approximately 19% had no negative involvement with law enforcement officials after completing the program. In the 12-month period (January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2002), over 510 at risk youths from the local community participated in the program.
The general purpose of the Straight Life Program is to:
·Reduce juvenile crime.
·Assist concerned community agencies that work directly with juvenile offenders and potential offenders in their efforts to free them from their misconceptions about crime and its consequences.
·Provide a new and valuable resource to the community and the Criminal Justice System for combating juvenile crime.
·Create an opportunity for Deuel Vocational Institution inmates to utilize their prison and / or life experiences in a positive way.
Inmates and staff members at DVI administer the Straight Life Program. Juvenile referrals are accepted from concerned parents, schools, social service agencies, churches, group homes and members of the judiciary community, as well as city and county government and law enforcement agencies from the entire State of California.
The Straight Life Program offers three consecutive sessions with juveniles and their parents/guardians. These sessions last approximately five hours (7:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and are conducted on consecutive Saturdays or Sundays. The sessions are designed to develop a certain amount of inmate-juvenile interaction in which the juveniles can confront problems and experiences they might find difficult to discuss with their parents or other adults.
Due to the increased public interest in the Straight Life Program, it was expanded to include Sundays in July 1996. Additionally, single weekday sessions are offered to local school districts on Mondays featuring an abbreviated session for juveniles deemed less at risk.
STRAIGHT LIFE PROGRAM