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If I were to propose a delinquency prevention program based on the social development model, I would have the students in a stable, loving environment with a mentor to help them make good choices. This would provide someone who cares what happens to them, the structure many of them need to survive and thrive, and the person they could see as their own model. Much of delinquency is about belonging, about people who seemingly care about the youth, about circumstances and happenings out of their control. Though such a program would cost money, the choice really is when society chooses to spend the money---at the beginning to prevent crime and the cost of prisons, or later to keep someone incarcerated for any length of time. I would prefer we use the money to give students on the edge the boost they need to stay focused and out of trouble, to give them a job to teach them skills, and to keep them focused on success now and in the future. Since I often see those who end up in jail, the one cause they consistently give for their dropping out of school is that no one cared. Now, as a teacher, I have seen many who cared and whom students ignored, but starting younger helps. With hope, students do stay in school, have hope of success and a job, and stay out of the prison system which is truly just a holding tank for those who have failed in society. Programs really no longer exist even if they are listed except for the few places where people believe change can happen.
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