Stoneleigh Fellows Kevin Bethel and Naomi Goldstein are featured in The Washington Post for their work expanding and evaluating the Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program.
Kevin Bethel didn’t become a police officer to lock up children. But it was under his watch as deputy police commissioner that Philadelphia’s school to-prison pipeline was in full effect. With the support and agreement of then-Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, Bethel made a simple decision: Stop arresting kids for minor offenses and instead divert them to social service programs when possible. Implementing the program didn’t rely on politicians or a committee. Thanks to the wording of the existing legislation, arrests could be avoided on a mass scale without being political. Bethel retired from the police force in January 2016 to take a fellowship with the Stoneleigh Foundation, a local organization dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable youth, where he is managing and expanding the Police School Diversion Program he created as deputy commissioner.