Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for April 28, 2010
Juveniles make contribution to society
Do you know what those darn young people on the Kanab work crew did? In the past 12 months, they contributed 2,490 hours of labor to help make Kanab a better place! In one month alone, they posted 360 hours of community service labor! Needless to say, their hard work saves Kanab City and other entities money. If wages were paid at $10 an hour, they’ve saved over $24,000.
Sixth District Juvenile Court Deputy Probation Officer Howard Baysinger, Jr. explained the young people assigned by the court system who are on his watch are doing the work crew projects as a method of redeeming themselves for minor juvenile offenses.
The Juvenile Court is not a punitive system. It’s the first involvement of the legal system concerning bad behaviors. Its philosophy is rehabilitative, attempting to intervene early, to get youth refocused on becoming a productive member of society.
“They are really good kids that just get off balance,” said Baysinger, of the youth involved. The work crew has had as few as three in the past 12 months, and as many as 12 participating, with the average being six.
Some of the young peoples’ home life has been less than perfect, often times resulting in young people acting out, according to Baysinger. “I find most of the kids pretty responsive to having a positive direction. They just need to correct some bad behaviors. Many of their parents thank me for what I do.”
“Those involved do work projects,” he explained. “They do a good percentage at the high school and for the city.” The projects are as varied as highway trash pick-up, landscaping, new storage shed at the pool, or helping at the Senior Center.
The juvenile work crew, under Baysinger’s tutelage, has worked. “It’s rewarding for me to have someone over 20 years old and thank me for keeping them out of prison,” said Baysinger.
“I’m retired actually,” said Baysinger with a smile. His background is in military and law enforcement. “I’m doing it because I like kids. If I can help a kid straighten things out, that’s a good thing.”
The bottom line is the youth... what do they think? Does the work crew program help them to learn societal responsibility and work off some infractions or fines?
Here are a few comments from the young people exiting Howard Baysinger’s program:
“I learned you are a good guy who will work with kids.”
“I would take the work hours. My parents should not have to pay for my stupid mistakes. I will take responsibility for my actions.”
“I thought it was a good experience paying for a bad experience-overall good.”
“If I were given a choice of writing a check or work hours, I would choose work hours because you get a break and soda and donuts for free.” (that Baysinger pays for himelf).
“I’d rather do work hours because it’s not my parents problem that I got into trouble, so I think that I should have to pay the consequences. I wouldn’t want to come back, but if I had to, I would love to do them with Mr. Baysinger.”