NEWBERRY — Juvenile offenders from the Department of Juvenile Justice provided basic and personal facts when they spoke to youth and parents at the City of Newberry Safety Center courtroom.
The Insiders is a community service-crime prevention project sponsored by the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice, Community Schools. The Insiders is a group of teens from DJJ in Columbia. They provided simple advice and food for thought, remembering the choices that cost them their freedom and landed them behind chain-link fences topped with razor wire.
Department of Juvenile Justice is home to about 1,000 young inmates from the state, ages 12 to 17. Its facilities are no longer call “reform schools” or “home for troubled boys,” but prisons. Daily life involves a loss of privacy, freedom of speech, freedom of choice, and in most cases, loss of contact with most friends and family members.
Communities in Schools Inc. is the largest stay-in school network in America that targets at-risk youth, offering an alternate approach to education. Communities in Schools at the Department of Juvenile Justice serves as a national model in a juvenile correctional facility, being the first of its kind in the nation.
Charles Chandler, who guides The Insiders program, stated that DJJ has six teens who travel around the state delivering personal lessons. All Insiders are required to maintain absolutely spotless records from day to day to keep their membership on The Insiders team.
The three Insiders who visited Newberry delivered their personal messages informing the audience their choices that cost them their freedom. Their messages also informed listeners the importance of education, making proper choices and the Juvenile Justice system. The impact of The Insiders is overwhelming.
MADD Newberry County, City and County law enforcement departments sponsor the program annually. City Police Officer Sgt. Allison Moore was official host. The Rev. Eddie Bledsoe gave the invocation and Chandler was the speaker.