A required course for both majors and minors, Juvenile Justice features a service learning component that requires students to spend at least 10 hours working with at-risk youth.
While most students choose to tutor incarcerated delinquent youth at the Rhode Island Training School in Cranston, R.I., others have worked with at-risk children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, Thompson Middle School and Child & Family.
Students keep a reflective journal and present their experiences to the class, allowing greater light to be shed on each individual's experience. Questions are asked, commonalities and differences are explored, and linkages are made. Students are left with a better understanding of the juvenile justice system, the youth in danger of entering the system, and the programming essential to try to help them.
Many goals and learning outcomes are facilitated by this requirement. Students examine the roots and risk factors of delinquency and suggest solutions. In addition to the gratification of assisting troubled youth, students gain an appreciation of their needs and backgrounds. They also see firsthand the problem of minority over-representation in the juvenile justice system, as the majority of incarcerated residents at the center are youth of color.