The codeofthestreet.net website and blog exists to:
- Function as a clearinghouse for research about, advocacy for, and examples of, “cultural context-informed” clinical models and intervention programs specific to the predominantly urban and minority demographic profile of the juvenile justice population.
- Highlight and document Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson‘s “Code of the Street” concept with close to 25 years of corroborative research as the best candidate model on which to base “cultural context-informed” programs and curricula.
- Show how inclusion of insight from the Code of the Street concept works in practice both as applied to current treatment models and programs and in new and developing programs and curricula, and to highlight research demonstrating the improved efficacy of such inclusion in achieving long term offender attitude and behavior change with implications for lower rates of recidivism after offenders return to their communities.
- Apply and demonstrate the relevance of this research to an understanding of how a juvenile’s living by the Code of the Street, a) predisposes violence and criminality, b) can inhibit engagement with and receptivity to conventional treatment and, c) poses challenges for post-discharge reentry and effective functioning in mainstream culture including finding and sustaining employment.
- Identify and call attention to a) the leading theorists and clinicians conducting this research and especially those applying it to juvenile corrections, b) the most significant skeptics and critics of the Code of the Street model and, c) to the most significant Code of the Street-informed publications and working programs.
- Document the problematic nature and lack of research support for Samenow and Yochelson’s “Criminal Personality” model as the sole explanation and treatment model for juvenile offender criminality and challenging behavior.
- Highlight the growing body of research demonstrating the greater efficacy of the Code of the Street as an explanatory and predictive model and in terms of juvenile justice program outcomes.
- Highlight and problem-solve regarding the challenges and risks to multiple juvenile justice stakeholder communities of poorly thought through–and in particular a politicized–deployment of Code of the Street-informed strategies into juvenile justice clinical practice; and to propose therefore a highly consultative, incremental, and, initially largely supplemental process of introducing Code of the Street thinking into juvenile justice facilities and programs.
Curt Byers, MDiv, CESP*, is founder and principal of Wealright Group and site owner of codeofthestreet.net
Curt is the designer and author of the workplace readiness curriculum Take Charge and the self-advocacy and anger/hostile interaction management) curriculum Zombie Resistance Training, approved by the OVR for use in PA high school transition programs. The primary design objective in both cases was being evidently relevant and helpful to students in mainstream high school transition programs. However, while neither curriculum makes specific content references to juvenile justice or Anderson’s Code of the Street, both also address some of the typical post-discharge, post-graduation employment challenges predicted by the Code of the Street model and observed in juvenile offenders living by its ethos.
Curt comes to curriculum design for vocational rehabilitation and juvenile justice by way of, 1) having previously published curricula in both the U.K. and the U.S., 2) eight years of full time clinic-based practice as a psychotherapist specializing in children and adolescents with both general and Autism Spectrum Disorder-related behavior challenges, 3) increasing focus on vocational rehabilitation as his adolescent clients with ASD began to graduate and face challenges in first experiences with employment and vocational rehabilitation services, 4) two and a half years working in a residential juvenile treatment facility as a supervisor and counselor and, 5) writing the PETS curricula described above as the first Director of Employment Services for a major eastern Pennsylvania intellectual disability services non-profit.
*Certified Employment Support Professional