GROW Public Safety Day: Education Is Critical To Reducing Crime

Leon Fooksman
Leadership Palm Beach County
February 24, 2016


GROW Public Safety Day: Education Is Critical To Reducing Crime


On Feb. 4, our GROW students visited Palm Beach County Sheriff Office and Palm Beach County Fire Rescue as part of their Public Safety Day.

The students learned a lot about prevalent topics concerning crime prevention, fire safety standards, incarceration, and driver safety.

Students Carolina Jimenez and Alexis Fisher discussed what issues stood out most for them -- particularly reintegration of inmates back into society.

Here is their recap.

At the Jail

While visiting the Palm Beach County Jail, we learned that inmates under the age of 18 (according to Florida legislation) are mandated to attend high school. Once an inmate turns 18 years of age and is no longer a juvenile, they are then transferred to the adult quarters. If inmates are 18 or older, they are given the opportunity earn their GED while in jail. This opportunity allows them to have a better chance at getting a job once they are release from incarceration. It is incredibly important that an inmate gets a high school diploma or GED, for their chance of getting a job is already slim to none. Students with college degrees are having hard times getting jobs, and so there is an even lower chance that the individual can get a sustainable paying job without a degree of education.

Incarceration and Mental Illness

During our tour of the jail, we also learned about the four units that house and care for the mentally unstable inmates. Here, these inmates are given full psychiatric evaluations and medication for their illnesses. Depending on the situation, they are treated properly and monitored to ensure stability. Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are implemented in order for inmates to attempt to rehabilitate and get back on track. Specialized programs and education opportunities (high school diploma or GED) will significantly help citizens reintegrate into society. The programs allow these inmates to become aware of their illnesses and help them to become stable and healthy in hopes when they leave jail that they can become a fully functioning member of society.

Importance of Education

During Public Safety Day, we learned that statistically 16/100 students will be spending time in jail. The best and arguably only way to combat this incarceration epidemic is with education. Not only education for the inmates, but education for the general populous. When young members of our society are not aware of the options available to them and are put in hard situations, they make bad decisions. As members of our community, it is our role to make sure students have the right foundation. Which is something that society has struggled with for years, it is hard but it is proven that it can be done.

Texting and Driving

Another issue that must be discussed is the growing rate of texting and driving. Because of technological advancements, texting while driving has become a serious and prominent issue in today’s society. Due to carelessness and unawareness, young lives are being lost each year at an alarming rate. The video department at Palm Beach County Fire Rescue produces educational videos in order to bring awareness to the dangers of driving and texting. Sending a text message while driving is equivalent to driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

It is imperative that as members of our society we bring light to these issues and work together to put an end to them.