Monday, October 12, 2009
SC State’s Criminal Justice Program’s faculty and students were participants in the 2009 Gang Prevention & Intervention Summit recently held at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in Orangeburg, S.C. The Summit’s theme was: “Choosing the Right Road-The Choice is Yours.”
The event was sponsored by the Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) Project of the University of South Carolina’s Children’s Law Center, the Orangeburg Gang Intervention Project 2020 and the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety.
A DMC initiative, the Summit addressed the overrepresentation of minority youth in South Carolina’s juvenile justice system through workshops, panel discussions, and open forums that addressed strategies for gang prevention. Also during the forums, attendees were able to hear personal testimonies of young people who, by their own admission, made mistakes but are working to prevent future occurrences.
Information was provided by and for youth from local school systems, parents, educators, law enforcement, criminal justice professionals, faith-based organizations and those with vested interest in gang prevention and intervention. The Summit culminated with a panel discussion of promising solutions for change in the community.
Students enrolled in SC State’s professional development class, volunteered with the Summit, registering participants for moderating and monitoring workshops.
Also in attendance were students from the African American Experience in Criminal Justice class, who gained a better perspective on the problem of disproportionate minority contact within the criminal justice system and possible solutions.
Participation in the Summit allowed students to provide valuable professional and community service while acquiring knowledge to apply to theory learned in the classroom. They also developed communication and leadership skills while building professional networks, which could result in the acquisition of internships and career opportunities.
According to senior criminal justice majors Brittany Gillispie from Concord, N.C. and Sean Nimmons from Bamberg, S.C., interaction with youth from local schools during the workshops was the part of the experience they found most gratifying and enlightening. Brittany Phillips, senior criminal justice major from Greenwood, S.C. concurred. “Students should be given the opportunity to be involved in more events like this one,” stated Phillips.
In keeping with the mission of the Criminal Justice Program, student and faculty participation in the 2009 Gang Prevention and Intervention Summit is one of many partnerships between the Criminal Justice Program and community agencies and organizations for the 2009-2010 academic year.
For more information contact Giselle White-Perry at (803) 536-8803 or Margie Ballard-Mack at (803) 536-8791.