Published in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave
September 19, 2013
|KIRK LATIMER AND GABRIEL GIRON OF THE NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION, SPEAK IT FORWARD, INC. - ERIK HOLLADAY|
Can young people who are poised to get adult criminal records turn their lives around? A group of dedicated people in Kalamazoo (including the Kinetic Affect duo) led by Judge Anne Blatchford is trying to help them turn that corner. Zinta Aistars has the story on how it works.
|Photo by Erik Holladay|
These uncomfortable numbers come from Lynn Kirkpatrick, probation services director in district court, and these numbers make no one more uncomfortable than Judge Anne Blatchford of the 8th District Court. After all, a large percentage of those numbers, and the young faces attached to them, have been standing before her in her courtroom.
Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of U.S. Department of Justice (as of August 2013), 218,864 people are currently incarcerated. The trend has fast been going up, not down, and a group commonly falling through the cracks, according to Judge Blatchford, is young adults.
Center of Career and Professional Development. Hawkshurst had a finger on the pulse of the Kalamazoo community, the doers and the makers, and was able to provide a long list of those who might be interested in helping.
Speak It Forward, Inc., known throughout Kalamazoo and increasingly throughout Michigan for their dynamic spoken word programs, called Kinetic Affect (see Second Wave story of March 2013), aimed at lifting up youth, were high on the list that Blatchford and Hawkshurst brought together as key players. Along with some 30 other community organization representatives, Latimer and Giron were only too happy to join in on the brainstorming.