Viewpoint: Truancy and Incarceration

We heard this weekend, about 14-year-old James Anderson, who was fatally shot, when he should have been in school.

This reminded us of the Recent Project S.H.E.L.D. study of 100 Dougherty County jail inmates.

The group interviewed 73 men and 27 women, showing a direct link between truancy and a stay in jail. The anti-truancy group's CEO, Prince Edwards, presented their results to County Commissioners, that 82% of inmates had skipped school.

I'm sure you assumed this was true, but as Edwards said: "To manage something you have to measure it". His point was, the numbers show if your control truancy, you can reduce crime and jail overcrowding.

The study found:

  • 45%  lacked a high school education
  • 54% never married
  • 40% were under 30
  • 65% admitted using drugs
  • 90% had been in jail before
  • 83 of the 100 inmates had kids at home, totaling 192 children

Edwards made the point that there are now over 900 inmates in the Dougherty County jail.  They just talked to 100, so those numbers would multiply nine times.

This should be a wake-up call to the community that with the lack of a role model, and supervision at home, this cycle will just repeat itself.

Immediate steps should be taken by community leaders to reverse this trend.

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