Newsletter #186: Vanishing Youth Violence


Youth violence is way down, especially in California. But that doesn’t mean juvenile halls are closing. Find out why in this week’s lead article, and ready yourself for outrage when you find out how much money counties are spending to incarcerate young people. Optional: Record your outrage here.

Also in today’s issue, you’ll find well-written articles on the inspiring impact of a mobile school in San Francisco, the lasting effects of the school shooting in Columbine, and the unfortunate reality of rodents living among us. Please enjoy!

Vanishing Violence: Empty Cells, Rising Costs

In this three-part special report, the San Francisco Chronicle reveals that the construction of juvenile halls in California has risen over the last 30 years, while at the same time, crime among young people has plummeted. As a result, the cost of locking up juveniles is stunning: $493,000 per juvenile per year in Alameda County, $514,000 in Santa Clara County, and $530,000 in Nevada County. Some counties, like San Francisco, are debating whether to dismantle their detention centers, while others remain cautious about cutting funding. (Note: California spends $12,003 per student per year on education.) (13 min)

A High School on a Bus in San Francisco

Let’s do more of this and less of that. For 15 years, Five Keys Charter School (#34) has helped incarcerated youth and adults to earn a high school diploma, centering on the principles of restorative justice. When school leaders learned that attending Five Keys meant that some students had to enter rival gang territory, they launched the Mobile Self-Determination Project, a classroom on wheels, offering one-on-one support on a refurbished city bus that serves Sunnydale, Double Rock, and other poor communities in San Francisco. (25 min)

The Wounds That Won’t Heal: Columbine Survivors, 20 Years Later

Next month marks the 20th anniversary of the school shooting in Columbine, Colorado. This article profiles four survivors, now in their late-30s, who continue to suffer from trauma. Some find that advocating for school safety and gun control is helpful, while others prefer connecting with other survivors via support groups, like the Rebels Project, which now includes 970 members from 56 incidents of mass trauma. (25 min)

There’s No Way To Escape Rats

There’s a very specific reason I don’t like rodents, but let’s not get into that story right here. Instead, enjoy this outstanding article about all things Rattus: how quickly they reproduce (14 pups at a time!), why they can swim up your toilet, how we’re trying to eradicate them (dry ice, blood thinners, poison, dogs), and why we’ll never succeed. Warning: Be ready for the photos. (13 min)   

So sad, no more articles. Thank you for reading this week’s issue, and please hit reply or use the thumbs below to tell me what you thought. Also, let’s welcome this week’s new subscribers Tre, Tse-Sung, Renee and Shalini. Thank you for trying out the newsletter. Hope it’s a good match!

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