The current Miss Black Maryland USA 2017, Saidah Grimes, has taken her Plug the Pipeline program to the Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy in Maryland, DC Military reports.
The Plug the Pipeline program seeks to reform the education system in the light of youths accessing the criminal justice system. As part of the program, youths that get arrested by law enforcement must know how to argue their case with officers and how to enlist the help of attorneys.
Who is Saidah Grimes?
Saidah Grimes is an attorney and interned as a law student at the Office of the Public Defender for the Juvenile Division in Baltimore. She happened to get her first criminal trial during this internship.
She revealed that she gave more than 800 hours to youths at the intersection of the criminal justice system and the education system during her law school days.
“There are two things that are integral to ensure that our youth don’t end up in the criminal justice system, strong parental and familial involvement, and coupled with that is education,” Grimes said. “Reforming our education system and keeping youth engaged is key.”
Grimes Calls Out to Education Reform Via Plug the Pipeline Program
Since Grimes strongly believes that everyone must have a voice in the society and adequately represented in legal issues, she urges potential attorneys to help represent youths in the courtrooms.
To this extent, Grimes took the Plug the Pipeline program to the Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy. The academy is operated by the District of Columbia National Guard together with the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia.
Deflating the School to Prison Pipeline
The program is to help school dropouts and get them reintegrated back into the society after they undergo five and half months of GED preparatory program. It mirrors those related to the other school to prison pipeline programs. Plus the Pipeline is run in a military style to impart courage, hard work, and undying hopes in participants or cadets.
“Besides the home sickness, the (Youth ChalleNGe Academy) offers me activities and opportunities to propel me to be more productive than I ever imagined I could be,” said a 16-year-old cadet, Ben Price, from Delaware. “I want to see every one of my peers persevere and be inspired to reach their goals as much as I do.”
Raynald Blackwell, program director for the Capital Guardian Youth ChalleNGe Academy, noted that youth engagement and encouragement are instrumental to helping everyone in this regard.
“In every group there are youth that have been abused, abandoned or neglected who have trauma induced behaviors which causes them to be disengaged from school,” Blackwell said. “The Youth ChalleNGe Academy is in the business of breaking the ‘school to prison pipeline.’ The odds are once you get involved it’s hard to get out of it. Once you’ve been placed on probation all you’ve got to do is slip up and you’re then pulled back in. It’s a cycle.”
Do you know of any other programs dedicated to ending the school to prison pipeline? If so, our audience would love to hear about them. Please share with us in the comments below.