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This former Philadelphia cop had an incredibly simple plan to keep kids out of prison. Don’t arrest them.

By Molly McCluskey, The Washington Post | March 30, 2017

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.

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