If job training is an important component of rehabilitating prison inmates, it may be even more essential to South Carolina’s juvenile offenders. Many stand at the crossroads between a productive life and just more trouble, but next time as an adult.
Learning a job skill can engage a young person at a critical time and can halt recidivism before it gets started. For those reasons, the state Department of Juvenile Justice is to be commended for undertaking its new Job Readiness Training Center in Columbia. The center was officially opened on Tuesday.
“This job training is not only the right thing to do, but it is improving the lives of the at-risk youths within DJJ and will pay long-term benefits to our state as a whole,” Gov. Nikki Haley said at the opening ceremonies.
Those long-term benefits to DJJ inmates will include learning the value of a job skill as a teenager.
And that should mean fewer DJJ inmates who will pursue criminal activities after their release, and fewer who will eventually “graduate” to adult prison.
The involvement of corporate and business partners in the program’s development should ensure that the instruction will have a high level of practical application.
While the program is being offered on site at the central DJJ facility in Columbia, it also will be provided remotely by video conference to youthful offenders on probation or parole, as well as to at-risk youths as a preventative measure.
Since its reform a decade ago, the Department of Juvenile Justice has been committed to reclaiming youthful offenders so they can make a successful transition to the community. The Job Readiness Training Center should help the agency accomplish that vital goal.
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