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How a Philly cop broke the school-to-prison pipeline
By Samantha Melamed, The Philadelphia Inquirer | September 26, 2016
Stoneleigh Fellows Kevin Bethel and Naomi Goldstein are featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The concept is simple: Give first-time, low-level offenders a one-time break – and, instead of criminalizing the behavior, address its root causes.
But it required a new way of thinking for Philadelphia police.
Kevin Bethel, 53, was a deputy commissioner when he conceived the idea in early 2014 after he began learning about current movements in juvenile justice, and the collateral consequences of arrests. After 29 years on the police force, he began to view juvenile arrests as a public-health problem.
He had been put in charge of school police in 2013, and started digging into the data. “I was shocked to see we were locking up 1,600 kids a year. And I was shocked to see the offenses kids were being locked up for.”