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Spotlighting an innovative program for juvenile offenders

As we noted in our immediately preceding blog post, The Law Office of John W. Noonan in Alameda County is all about sentencing alternatives to prison for many juvenile criminal offenders.

In fact, and as we pointed out in our September 14 entry, we readily "acknowledge the need for differentiated treatment that will teach young persons a meaningful lesson and promote -- rather than militate against -- redemption."

We introduce in today's post one Harry Grammer, a California executive with a nonprofit group that works with many young people who have had run-ins with the criminal justice system. Grammer's philosophy is instantly familiar to us and resonates for its idea that focusing upon rehabilitation rather than mere punishment for juvenile offenders is often a strategy that yields best-outcome solutions by virtually every measurable yardstick.

Grammer's program, called New Earth, offers redemptive opportunities to youthful offenders from a number of detention centers in South California. It would reasonably seem that the program -- or any number of like-minded initiatives -- could easily gain traction across the state and be widely beneficial from any cost-benefit standpoint.

What Grammer's teens who have had trouble with the law specifically do is work as camera operators who provide more than a million people across the globe with real-time streaming images of wildlife in remote regions. The cameras are on site in those distant locales and operated remotely by the California-based teenagers. Those selected for the operator positions are trained and paid a wage, with benefits.

Grammer himself was once a troubled juvenile who served time for burglary. His motivation in helping youngsters these days who have had negative interactions with law enforcement is fueled by the belief that simply giving troubled young people a chance to succeed and contribute to society can have material and even dramatically positive effects on their lives.

We support that philosophy wholeheartedly and routinely advocate for forward-thinking rehabilitative outcomes for young offenders who have the potential to strongly benefit society in the future.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Out of juvenile hall and into nature: California youth run wilderness webcams," Linda S. Zhang (Associated Press), Aug. 23, 2015

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