Harry Grammer2018 Obama Fellows
L.A. County incarcerates more youth than any other county in the nation, with a 69% recidivism rate. Kids disproportionately come from low-income communities of color and return to over-policed neighborhoods and failing schools that offer no job training or formal community support, ensuring that they go on to overpopulated adult prisons. California has seen a push for youth diversion, including within L.A. County’s troubled probation department—but it needs partners on the ground to lead the way.
New Earth Opens in a new tab runs poetry, art, education, job training, and counseling programs at L.A. County detention centers, probation detention camps, and group homes, in addition to running a joint charter high school that supports youth from detention, to probation, and beyond. New Earth’s Opens in a new tab programs have slashed recidivism rates from 69% to 5% for full participants. Begun at an open mic café in 2003, its flagship FLOW spoken-word program has operated in all 14 L.A. juvenile detention centers since 2004, with more than 10,000 L.A. youth taking at least one New Earth Opens in a new tab course. Now, New Earth Opens in a new tab has been tasked with turning a former youth detention site into a beautiful, redesigned community-run vocational training center—a major milestone in Grammer’s vision for transforming juvenile detention centers statewide.
My civic hero: