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 Article of Interest - Juvenile Justice

Anti-Crime Study Boosts After-School Programs

by William J. Gorta, New York Post, November 8, 2002
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A new report called for a major expansion in after-school programs to prevent crime - both by and against children - and other harmful behavior.

The study, by the New York chapter of "Fight Crime: Invest in Kids," said teens in New York state who are unsupervised after school three or more days a week were seven times more likely to become crime victims than their supervised counterparts.

And a survey of teens in New York indicated children who had adult supervision after school were considerably less likely than unwatched kids to report they had sex, had been victims, used drugs or committed crimes.

The benefits reach beyond the hours the children are in after-school programs, according to Sanford Newman, Fight Crime's national director.

"It also has a values and skills effect that they're not home learning from Jerry Springer how to resolve conflicts," Newman said.

The group said more than 800,000 after-school-program places needed to be created statewide.

The programs would pay for themselves, not only saving lives and tax dollars, but allowing at-risk youth to become tax-paying adults, the report said.

"No one's against after-school programs, but they haven't put their money where their mouth is," said Eli Silverman, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"We can pay now for after-school programs and invest in success or we can plan to spend far more on prisons for our failures and early funerals for their victims."

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