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How Philadelphia reduced school-based arrests by 91% in a decade, keep youth out of legal system

Philadelphia's diversion program has helped keep kids in school and out of the legal system.
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Philadelphia's diversion program has helped keep kids in school and out of the legal system.

Across the U.S., arrest rates for young people under age 18 have been declining for decades, while the amount of youth arrests associated with school incidents has increased.

In Philadelphia, the city’s school district was home to the largest source of referrals for youth arrests. But that changed about a decade ago when a pre-arrest diversion initiative was introduced, and since 2013, school-based arrests in Philly have dropped by 91%.

At Drexel University, Professors of Psychological and Brain Sciences Naomi Goldstein and Amanda NeMoyer recently evaluated the effectiveness of the diversion program as independent researchers.

Delaware Public Media’s Kyle McKinnon spoke with Goldstein and NeMoyer this week about their evaluation and the effects of keeping kids out of the legal system.

Drexel University professors Naomi Goldstein and Amanda NeMoyer explain the importance of keeping kids out of the legal system

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Kyle McKinnon is a producer for The Green with a passion for storytelling and connecting with people.