Over Policing and its Effects on Youth Education

Replacing Overpolicing with Relationships

Over policing has been an ongoing problem within underprivileged areas and it directly leads to more arrests and further public distrust in law enforcement.  In this video, Darryl Bundrige and John Henderson share their insight into the world of the criminal justice system. The two men shed light on topics surrounding the widespread racial inequities people face everyday from law enforcement.  Certain topics that are also discussed are different ways to combat over policing, by initiating a community police force to lessen the intimidation of over policing.

Produced and Edited by Dave Hare

Partnerships for Better Policing in Low Income Communities

By David Hare

Throughout the United States, over policing in African American and low-income communities has been a controversial topic due to the mistreatment of community members by police officers.  Over policing is when there is an influx of police officers in one area and this can lead to higher crime and incarceration rates because there are more officers to make arrests.  When it comes to policing, there are many disparities in the way police go about doing their job in different communities.  This has caused many people to formulate a distrust in law enforcement and our criminal justice system because not all Americans are viewed as equals in the eyes of the law.

Black adults are five times more likely to be unfairly treated, stopped or questioned by police officers in their local communities for doing nothing wrong.  This creates an unfair gap in our policing system because historically, Black Americans have been targeted more often than white Americans from a police standpoint.  Another significant problem is the lack of collaboration between the police and community members to solve disputes about over policing and heavy police presences in various communities.

Many community members strive to be active in trying to keep their cities safe in order to thwart the perceived need for over policing in low income communities.  Members are typically active in voicing their opinions about issues regarding the police and highlight the mishandling of cases based off of people’s race, gender and religion.

When a low-income community has a heavy police presence, this can also affect the education system and its students.  In certain areas some students are searched before they even enter their school buildings.  From the perspective of a student in a low-income area, this can be viewed as an injustice because they as students feel as if they aren’t trusted by police.

Organizations such as City Year Philadelphia are playing an active role in combatting injustices that derive from over policing and its effect on education.  City Year Philadelphia is a national service organization that looks to unite people from diverse backgrounds to establish a better educational experience.  Their goal is to give students from underprivileged areas the support system they deserve, while mentoring and preparing them for life.

They believe strongly in building relationships with young community members and even the police force to create a more accepting society for everyone.  This organization is vital in educating young students and teaching them life skills that they can cultivate over time so they can achieve their goals.

Darryl Bundrige is the Vice President and Executive Director of City Year Philadelphia. He has worked as a youth mentor to enable young, underprivileged students to grow up as educated members of society and assist in their education.  Mr. Bundrige has been successful in his efforts by promoting diversity within the education system and meeting with community officials to brainstorm ideas on how to create a better educational experience for students of all backgrounds.

Bundrige believes that over policing in low- income communities is not the root of the problem but it is the way that police are viewed in society by people of color.

“Is it the question of whether an area is overpoliced, meaning that there are too many police around, or is it really what is the relationship?  Where is the trust, what is the rapport between the community police?” Bundrige asked.

If there is not a solid relationship connecting the two parties, it can lead to problems in the way law enforcement is viewed.  It can be very hard to put trust in a system that has marginalized and discriminated against different communities, for instance especially the African American community.

Bundrige believes in the notion that police need to understand the hopes, fears and concerns of the community and recognize the historical unrest that has led to problems within the system from a race perspective.

“We need to work more on understanding the community, understanding the hopes, fears, concerns while recognizing the history that police have had” said Bundrige.

It is important that police understand the historical problems of over policing and the effect that police have on different communities.  Police forces have a propensity to have heavier police presences in lower-income communities, leading to more arrests and more discrimination from law enforcement.

Through 2016 – 2018, Philadelphia police arrested approximately 15,500 juveniles for loitering and curfew violations with 42 percent of the arrests being African Americans.  This youth arrest rate is 10 times higher in cities such as Nashville, TN.  With the juvenile incarceration rate being higher than the national average, City Year Philadelphia seeks to also reduce the school to prison pipeline by giving kids the support that they need to stay out of trouble and avoid police issues.

City Year Philadelphia has helped in the efforts to combat the problem of over policing in black communities by encouraging a community police force.  By establishing a community police presence, it creates a less intimidating atmosphere that can allow for less arrests. The idea of a community police force would be to utilize people from the local community who understand the area to educate people on the criminal justice system.  City Year Philadelphia has worked to recognize problems within the criminal justice system that often times derive from a large police presence.

John Henderson is the President and Lead Strategist for JB Henderson Consulting, LLC.  Early in Henderson’s career, he earned a B.A. in Criminal Justice and worked in the juvenile justice system as a supervising mentor.  During his time as a juvenile justice supervisor, Henderson was able to mentor students and provide additional academic help for them.  Henderson played a pivotal role in these young adult’s lives because he guided them on a better track for success and taught them valuable life lessons.

“When there are young people in families who don’t have access to programs and activities that involve structure, this can be detrimental to their decision making process, leaving them more vulnerable to making bad decisions in the future,” Henderson said.

The programs that Henderson would facilitate were overall centered around mentoring these young individuals in life.  When he started out as a supervisor, Henderson stated that he was normally in the same age range as the people who had been detained.  This allowed him to establish relationships with these individuals through different activities such as music and schooling.

“It was very important to have an education by the time I started working there. In many cases, there were people who had not had a role model figure in their life who had been through college,” Henderson said.

Education, and being exposed to people with college degrees played a large factor in their development as detainees.  It showed them that there were good paths to go down and that education should always be a top priority in life.  Having the interpersonal relationships with the detainees allowed for overall growth in their character and ambitions.  Henderson has helped in the process of creating more awareness about over policing and guiding community members in the right direction from a moral and emotional stand point.

Henderson’s efforts in the criminal justice system led to less people being detained in the Philadelphia area because he cultivated the lives of young adults who have been detained and led them in a positive direction.  The goal of the job was to assist in their lives so that they would not commit a future crime if they were in the same position.  This work is so important for the detainee’s moral development and so that they can live better lives.

Henderson has also worked with City Year Philadelphia and the Philadelphia School District to solve problems regarding over policing in areas and crime rates.  The collaboration around education and criminal justice awareness has led to better relationships with police and lower crime rates due to the mentoring initiatives.  These initiatives were executed to provide people with more knowledge and a better understanding for the justice system and to lead detainees in the direction of success.

Juvenile Justice Reform

John Henderson has served as a mentor for inmates in the juvenile justice system by providing people with wisdom and life skills to reestablish themselves in society.  Through working in this role, Mr. Henderson fostered young inmates and guided them on a better path for success by putting inmates through programs and learning new ways.  This podcast discusses some of Mr. Henderson’s experiences working within the juvenile justice system and how he helped to rehabilitate inmates.  

Produced and Edited by Dave Hare

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