The below post is submitted by a blog-friend with extensive real-life experience dealing with juvenile offenders.
Demar Dorsey has unfortunately been a rather major focal point in U of M sports lately. Speculation by columnists, coaches and sports fans has ranged from catastrophe to redemption. People have been racing to conclusions faster than Denard Robinson runs the 100. I was not going to weigh into this mess, but then thought perhaps I should if for no other reason than to introduce some semblence of truth into the story.
So, here goes.
I have been around the block, so to speak, in the field of juvenile delinquency–and that is what we are talking about here–not adult criminal activity. There is a huge difference. First of all, adults go to criminal courts. Juveniles go to probate courts where the laws compel such courts to act as a caring and loving parent. This was all basically started in Illinois in 1989 or thereabouts. I’ll not dwell on the theoretical aspect of this. You either agree with it or don’t. It is that simple.
Incarceration is expensive. Locking up juveniles can be 3 to 4 times more expensive than adults. While you get away with having one prison guard for every 100 prisoners, the accepted best practice for juveniles is one to twelve. Furthermore, treatment services for juveniles vastly exceed those for adults who are basically just being punished.
My research indicates that after two years, generally speaking, a youth has a four percent chance of re-offending. To put it another way, a youth has a 96% chance of not re-offending. Mr. Dorsey, having been free of criminal activity for two years would seem to fall into this category. Even Jamie Mac would take those odds.
There are numerous indicators of whether or not a youth will re-offend. Felony convictions at ages 12 to 14 is one. A history of victimization (abuse/neglect) another. A history of substance abuse is a third. I have not heard of any of these things with regard to Mr. Dorsey. Maybe they have. Maybe they have not. Until I see evidence to the contrary, I am presuming they have not.
I have to wonder why, in a overwhelmingly Christian society, Mr. Dorsey recieves such short shrift? This kid has been good for two years now. The only people I see coming to his side are football coaches and a few fans, and Wojo from the News. As trite as this may sound, what would Jesus do? Moreover, what would Jesus think of all those casting aspersions on this kid? Jesus even forgave those who put him to death. There are a whole bunch of people out there that are wailing because Mr. Dorsey might besmirch the good name of the U of M.
Mr. Dorsey is coming into a highly structured, overwhelmingly positive environment. His cousin and positive peer will be there. He’ll have tutors and advisors and Barwis. He’ll live in a supervised residence in a city that almost forgets crime even exists. He’ll be pursuing an education that could set him for life just as likely as an NFL contract might. And the downside is that he might, might give the U of M a black eye? Wow. Life really is getting cheap nowadays.
Finally, let us remember, aside from all the dismissed and acquittal squabble, that no one was physically injured by Mr. Dorsey. Maybe that is why the judge decided this kid was worth a chance. Had Mr. Dorsey been incarcerated, he may not have come out the kind of person he is today. Those are not charm schools those kids go to. They are not matriculated with academic all americans and missionaries. The lowest common denominator rules in such facilities. Kindness is a weakness. Hyper vigilance is the law. Perhaps it really is prudent to reserve such treatment for those who truly need it and not to just foist it upon those who upset our personal moral compasses.