Crimes committed by at-risk Chicago students dropped in half, and high-school graduations rose sharply in an innovative education program called Becoming a Man that is capturing national attention and could become one antidote to the city’s persistent bloodshed, according to a newly published study.
BAM focuses on adolescent and teenage boys on the city’s violent South and West sides. They’re deemed at risk to fail and are offered a chance to skip a class to participate in a program that tries to teach them alternatives to having “automatic” negative responses to stressful situations. […]
The randomized study compared about 4,800 BAM students with peers in regular school programs. Violent-crime arrests fell 50 percent, and arrests for all types of crime fell 35 percent among the BAM students — although those declines were not “persistent” after they cycled out of the BAM program.
Nevertheless, high-school graduation rates rose 19 percent among the same BAM kids. […]
A similar program in the Cook County juvenile detention center reduced readmission rates 21 percent, the study concluded.
The young people were randomly divided into a control group that received no special services and those who for up to two years attended a one-hour weekly counseling session and who had access to a counselor the remainder of the school week—both designed to “help youth recognize their automatic responses and slow down their thinking in high-stakes situations.”
In other words, to think about it, not just pull the trigger.
In the first study conducted during the 2009-10 academic year, the percentage of those who subsequently were arrested for a violent crime in an 18-month period was cut almost in half, 45 percent, amounting to 10 percent of participants, versus 19 percent in the control group. A total of 2,740 young men participated.
Results were very similar in the second round of testing, with 2,064 ninth- and 10th-graders participating. The odds of being arrested for a violent crime were half that in the control group, 6 percent versus 11 percent.
Overall arrests didn’t drop quite as dramatically as arrests for violent offenses but still were off considerably in the study group, down 28 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
Seven people were killed and at least 51 people were wounded in weekend shootings across Chicago.
So far this year, over 1,880 people have been shot across the city and more than 200 of those wounded have died of their wounds, according to records kept by the Chicago Tribune. At least 317 people have been killed this year by shooting, stabbing or other means, Tribune records show.
Twelve of the 51 people shot this weekend were wounded in the city’s Harrison District, an area on the west side where more than 270 people have been shot this year.
The busiest period during the weekend was from Saturday morning to early Sunday, when four people were fatally shot and 26 others were hurt.