Teen Offender says Missouri Model has Humbled Him

He’s serving time for burglary and manslaughter in the Missouri Division of Youth Services. But instead of prison, he’s living in a small group home, and getting treatment.  Seventeen year old Carlos Dickson talks about how he got into trouble, and how he believes he can turn his life around with the help of counselors and his family - who are all part of his treatment program.

Dickson is interviewed by the Campaign for Youth Justice on, an online radio program.  The Director of the Missouri Division of Youth Services also explains why he believes his system works.  Tim Decker describes it as a developmental approach that does not typecast kids. Decker urges professionals to understand teens, their mental health needs, learning disabilities and home situations.

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Photo shows The Northwest Regional Youth Center, an old elementary school that houses 30 teenagers.  Courtesy: