Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, October 2

Gapers Block

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Cinnamon / August 19, 2003 2:00 PM

I don't know. I toured a hot dog factory when I was a kid, but I still eat them.

Andrew / August 19, 2003 2:19 PM

I kind of agree. I think a lot of troublemakers would see a prison tour as a good excuse to get out of school for a day.

On the other hand, I've heard of programs like these that have inmates and guards talk to the students and basically scare the bejeezus out of them about prison. That might work.

Lisa / August 19, 2003 2:24 PM

If seeing family members and peers go to prison or get killed in gang warfare doesn't discourage kids from lives of crime, why would a prison tour?

j3s / August 19, 2003 2:34 PM

I think it's too bad that they discussed wanting to take the kids on college campus tours too, but didn't provide funding for it. Isn't positive reinforcement supposed to be stronger than negative? I can't remember, it's been about 8 years since Psych 100...

dce / August 19, 2003 2:35 PM

The best way to prevent crime in low income areas (and let's face it: while this legislation doesn't explicitly state it as such, it's target demographic is clearly low income black teenagers) is to demonstrate that young people have a clear alternative to gang membership, drugs and violence.

There's a reason the 'Thug Life' is celebrated. When criminals are the only members of the community enjoying wealth and prosperity, they're held aloft as heros and role models.

Prison tours won't do much. Students - no matter how difficult - would be better served by sitting in the classroom. Taking them out for a day does them a disservice.

Shylo / August 19, 2003 3:00 PM

I remember being shown photos of sexually transmitted diseased genetalia in high school, but people still had lots of sex after the prom.

And my crackhead brother learned which was the best paint to huff in outpatient rehab.

So, I guess my answer is no.

Naz / August 19, 2003 3:46 PM

In Kuala Lumpur the best way to show and deter crime was these little exhibits they would have all the time in shopping malls of the actual wooden frame where you get caned. Far from the actual prison time or anything, the wooden frame, primitive looking in all it's glory with the butt sheet and cane. Take a look. Pretty damn effective.

The other thing is at auto shows, traffic cops show up with large blown up photos of accident victims, pretty gruesome shite. A hand there, a head here.

Not to mention, drug trafficking is low low low with youth. While ganja (pot) is relatively common, all other else isn't. The whole death by hnaging thing is a pretty good deterrent for not taking drugs.

Stephen / August 19, 2003 4:50 PM

Cripes, what a cop-out. You take kids on tours of prisons and they form negative associations of them, even fear them. However they shouldn't want to be in prison because they fear them, but because they h ave some sort of Judeo-Christian value system going on. They have to know early on (focusing in the parental structure here, thats where the money should be applied) whats right and whats wrong fundamentally.

I also agree with the comment on alternatives to crime-- my father works in the CPS, and used to be at Near North over on Larrabee back when it was kinda ghetto. He would have diametric opposites of kids, all from the same area, and although he would try to point the troublesome kids in the right direction it really needs to come from all sides; school, home, and peers. A lofty solution, yeah, but its a lot better than just scaring the crap out of them. Then they'll just figure out either how not to be caught or they won't allow themselves to get sent to prison and resort to hails of gunfire. And that hardly ever works.

Greg / August 19, 2003 4:58 PM

I've lived in Chicago for a year, and I'm an administrator for CPS, and taught a class of "bad kids" on the far West Side in a middle school... all I can say is that for those students, I think it would have worked wonders. It's difficult to fathom to what an extreme degree public education is dichotmized into feast and famine. We have schools parents will try to lie, cheat and bribe their way into... and then we have schools that I was afraid to visit even with a security team accompanying me.

All in all, however, my personal opinion (which has no bearing on CPS' position) is that to LEGISLATE such a trip is offensive and unethical, especially since they rejected providing the counter-point college tour.

Kevin / August 20, 2003 2:28 AM

This is a load of hooey. All it does is provide parents/teachers/whoever with some sense of security knowing they are "doing something."

It will have positive short-term effects in that it'll keep the lil' whippersnappers in line for a short period of time however there is no good evidence that this has any long term effects in terms of deterrence.

Kids will not identify with prisoners as this is the extreme of what can happen. Mentoring and positive role modeling goes a long way in helping "bad kids".

These kind of "programs" come around every ten years or so touting some revolutionary new angle but it's the same crap.

Allow me to toss out some cred: I've worked with at-risk youth for most of my life; in treatment centers and outreach centers, both chemically dependent and gang kids.

M / August 20, 2003 3:32 AM

Reminds me of the old documentary "Scared Straight" ...

Chris Barrett / August 20, 2003 5:57 AM

I think it's really more of an opportunity for "networking."

Kevin / August 20, 2003 9:51 AM

Stop me before I use paragraphs again.

Hehehe, excellent Chris.

*wipes coffee from monitor screen*

nn / August 20, 2003 11:19 AM

It seems our state legislators have been spending too much time watching Geraldo and Jenny Jones. Don't they have anything better than daytime television to occupy their time?

Stephen / August 20, 2003 2:57 PM

No doubt. Next they'll be busting out those drill sergeants, sending them to bootcamp and show the footage of them crying on Montell Williams. I really like the idea of college tours, or mentorships. Trying to dispel a negative with a negative doesn't really work.
I'm sure the convicts will get a kick out of preselecting their bitches. Kinda like the wishlist on Amazon. I kid.

Kevin / August 21, 2003 10:02 AM

I think Extreme Makeovers would go a long way in preventing kids from going bad.

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