How Philadelphia Flipped: Second Chances for Youth

By Zari Tarazona, YR Media | January 8, 2020

Board Member and former Stoneleigh Fellow Kevin Bethel and other Philadelphia justice leaders spoke to YR Media about their work to keep kids in school and out of prison.

In 2014, Philadelphia started an experiment to cut down on the numbers of kids getting arrested — starting with in-school arrests. The person who spearheaded it was Kevin Bethel, who was the deputy police commissioner at the time. School police officers were under Bethel’s supervision.

“When I looked at the data, you know what I said to myself? I’m feeding the system,” Bethel said. “I’m locking up 1,600 kids a year.”

Bethel’s aha moment came after he went to a conference and heard terms like “trauma” and the “school-to-prison pipeline.” He said he had no idea what they were talking about.

When he returned home, he pulled up the data on in-school arrests. And he was taken aback by what he saw.

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