Columbia Teens Get Reality Check

11:31 PM, Apr 19, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX)-  Friday night a dozen Midlands students turned in their regular clothes for a green jumpsuit.

They were all sentenced to spend the night behind bars at the Columbia Police Department. The Program called RISK (Rescuing Inner City Students and Kids) is in its first year and police say this is a long term project to change the lives of troubled youth.

"You need to take some of that aggression and do something with your school," yelled in the crowed jail cell by a Columbia Police Officer.

"This is an intensive program," said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

"When someone look at you, you look dead in their eye, you understand me?" said another officer.

"It's our version of Scared Straight. This is the shock factor, but the true gauge of success is how these kids interact in society for the rest of the year and even longer than that," said acting Columbia Police Chief Ruben Santiago.

Santiago went on to say, "Once they commit a crime or once they become a victim its too late, it has already happened. So this is a proactive approach to problem solving and that problem is making sure that we keep our kids safe and making sure that the kid."
This is the first session for the RISK program.

"We have no plans to have a second session until we see this one go through and that means no time limit, long term is the key word when it comes to the RISK program. So our officers are going to be in the field and in the neighborhood, in the schools, in the home, making sure they are doing that follow up," said Santiago.

"This is our chance to make sure they know that we love them but that we take very seriously the potential that they have and the potential that they have to go the wrong way and we are not going to accept that," said Benjamin.


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