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April 15, 1979 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-04-15
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W19fiRr 7T

_.__ _

Page 8-Sunday, April15,.1979--The Michigan Daily


tContinued from Page 5
What did you guys learn in ther
after all we talked about?" a JOL
members asks them. One of the youn
men shifts uncomfortably in his sea
"This ain't the place to be, no way.
want an education. I don't want to han
out here," he says. It is obvious that th
experience has deeply moved him. He'
not saying this to please anyone.
"I can't handle this place. I want t
go to school tomorrow morning,'
another quickly adds. His mother look
at him and smiles. Just minutes earlier
before the boys joined them, she ha
told the JOLT committee her son hate
school and would never go back.
The other two juveniles concur wit]
their fellow JOLTees. "I learned I ca
think for myself and stay out o
trouble," one of them tells the group
The JOLT committee members
although not saying anything aloud, ar
visibly pleased by the comments made
THIS PROGRAM'S not a pana
cea," Bercheny says as th
parents, juveniles and inmate
mingle. "We just make the kids a littl
more pliable inside-receptive to posi
tive change and comments from othe
sources. We don't expect miracles."
The JOLT program in itself is jus
short of miraculous. In January 1978
after submitting a 35,000-word proposa
to the Michigan Department of Correc
tions director Perry Johnson, the com
mittee received conditional approval to
start their project. On May 23, 1978 four
young men from Jackson County ex
perienced the first intensive confron
JOLT is funded entirely by the 21
committeemen, who have been convic-
ted of every crime from armed robbery
to first-degree murder. JOLT members
earn an average of 90 cents a day from
their prison jobs, which they forfeit two
days a week to run the sessions. Since
all their toiletries - soap, deodorant,
toothpaste - must be purchased at the
prison store at normal retail prices, the
committee members must tightly
budget their reduced wages, while still
funding the program.
The JOLT committee is extremely
strict when admitting a new member to
their lot. Chosen for his dedication, sin-
cerity, and willingness to tell the kids
the truth about prison life, the prospec-
tive member must be approved by
every JOLT member and placed on a
closely-watched three-month
probation. "It's probably hard to
believe this from a bunch of lousy con-
victs," Hendricks told the parents.
While the inmates provide the im-
political groups
Continued from Page 7
their politics as being a complete com-
promise with the bourgeois ideology
and with capitalism politics."
Marsh, of the Labor Party, says
members of political parties both to the
right and left of his refuse to evaluate
his group fairly. "Each one of them has
this little set of blinders where they look
at the world,"' he says, "and if it looks
like you don't fit in just the way that
I've got it programmed, then you must
be something alien or something
These four groups represent but a
part of the activism in Ann Arbor'today.
According to the RCYB's Alexander,
students are becoming increasingly in-
terested in views of the city's assorted
political factions. "There's definitely a
different mood on the campus than
there was a few years ago - a much
better mood," says Alexander. "People

petus for straightening out the
e, delinquent, it's necessary to have
T follow-up programs to continue helping
g the youths. "For the hard-core kids, the
t. JOLT experience lasts only so long. It's
I important we get them turned around
g while they are still in shock," explained
e Wayne County Commissioner Mary
s Dumas, who is also a founder of the
county's Day at Jackson program.
o "Designed to help screen kids and
", provide them access to JOLT and to
s provide follow-up services after the in-
, tensive confrontation," Day at Jackson
d is an integral part of the JOLT
d program, Dumas said. "Once the JOLT
experience wears off, the juveniles
h could repeat their crimes if there were
n no program to help them." Of the 90
f juveniles they sent to Jackson so far,
only three have appeared before a
judge again.
e The Day at Jackson program chan-
nels the young men into job-training
programs, local school and alternate
- education programs, and full-time em-
e ployment. 135 public service jobs have
s been set aside especially for the JOLT
e follow-up by the county Office of Man-
- power and the city of Detroit.
r Although the Day at Jackson project
has the full support of the com-
t missioners and other county
organizations, the program is run as a
I private corporation. "As a private cor-
- poration, it can accept donations from
- private organizations," Dumas said.
"We receive donations from the
Michigan Jaycees, church
organizations, and other concerned
- groups." It costs about $68 per juvenile
to send them to Jackson.
feels the mandatory par-
ticipation of the parents in the
program, stipulated by the state, is a
major step towards -helping the
delinquents. "My philosophy is that
there are no bad kids, only bad parents.
The kids are failures in grade school, in
high school, in jobs, not because they
are really not good, but because they
live in an environment where the
parents constantly tell them they are
Both commissioners hope the
program at Jackson can be expanded to
accept not only convicted felons, but
also "borderline cases and trouble
makers" who are not yet hard-core
criminals, but on the verge of becoming
ones. An experience like JOLT, they
believe, could easily deter them from
making that final step.
Nearby, the Washtenaw County
Juvenile Court also makes referrals to
the JOLT confrontation, but the
are really opening their eyes to a lot of
different things that are going on.
People are a lot more anxious to find
out why we hold the views we do, and
what we're really all about."
The members of these groups have
sacrificed much time and effort toward
reaching their goals. For the most part,
the organizations are self-supporting,
and will do any sort of fund-raising ac-
tivities possible. None of the leaders of
these groups seem to have a firm idea
of what they want to do with their lives.
But each has said that he or she will
continue to remain active wherever
they are.
Ever since mangrouped together in
societies there has been talk about
things "getting better," that
"Prosperity is just around the corner.'"
It is a feeling which still exists to a cer-
tain extent today, even on this campus.
But these activists aren't waiting.

program had been suffering from lack
of referrals. But referrals have begun
to resurge, according to county coor-
dinator Mary Borchart, and a tour is
scheduled for April 24.
Unlike Wayne County, however, this
program has no follow-up to the tour.
"We leave it up to the individual juve-
nile workers to follow-up the presen-
tation," she said.
While court workers and JOLT
committeemen are ecstatic about the
results of the confrontations so far,
'To level with the kids. You
have to tell them the truth
about yourself-that you're
an asshole and a fool for
doing this to yourself-'
--JOL T volunteer
Tony Bercheny
state officials in charge of the project
will neither praise nor criticize the
program until they see the results of an
evaluation being conducted currently
by the Department of Corrections.
"The program has a certain amount
of intuitive appeal that it will work,"
says Jim Yarborough, the chief of
research at the department's program
bureau. "We're refraining from
making any kind of positive or negative
statement until we have the objective
data from our evaluation." The study
should be finished in a couple of mon-
ths, he said, and will judge the effec-
tiveness of the program as a crime
"Obviously the tour is an emotional
experience for the juveniles, who have
sobered up and straightened up after
coming out of it. Our question, and the
point of this evaluation, is to find out if
it carries over for more than a few
days," Bill Kime, deputy corrections
director, said.
Until the results are made known, the
JOLT committee continues to plan for
the future. "We have plans for a mobile
unit to tour communities and schools,
showing films and talking to the kids
(Continued from Page 6)
could easily embody all that he has to
say in his poetry, Grass insists on num-
erous poetic digressions which, while
sometimes ingenious, never achieve
the level of bravura performance found
everywhere else in the book, and in fact
often derail carefully constructed tonal
In his prose, Grass handles the
rhetoric of the woman's move-
ment - the pompous guff of self-
important men and the bitchy barbs of
liberated ladies-with great humor,
managing to cut beneath polemic to
some fundamental ideas concerning
contemporary relations between the

about prison life," Bercheny said.
Plans for larger confrontations are also
being considered.
While it is a satisfying experience for
the men, the JOLT confrontations are
emotionally draining. "To level with
the kids, you have to tell them the truth
about yourself - that you're an asshole
and a fool for doing this to yourself,"
Bercheny commented. "Very few
people are willing to do that. No parents
go up to their kids and say 'Hey, I've
been a real asshole and I was wrong.'
But that's what the kids need to hear."
Once committed to the JOLT concept,
each committee member must be
willing to be totally humiliated by the
kids and to fight right back. "I've seen
hard-core cons break out in a cold
sweat after one of the confrontations,"
Bercheny said.
All the committeemen agree the ex-
perience is worth it, however, "If we
can save even 30 per cent of the kids
who come through here, we're doing
our job, and it's worth it," said Bill
'Lovett, chairman of the JOLT commit-
The attitudes of the inmates can best
be summed up in the words of one of
them, Tony Bercheny, written in a
piece of JOLT literature:
"The why's of the motives concerning
the involvement of the members of the
JOLT committee cannot be etched with
the pen. It is in their hearts, and
secretly, each member has been
touched by one situation or another.
You can strip a man of everything he
owns and lock him up for 100 years, but
you can never place a lock on his
Answer to this week's puzzle:
'The contemporary climate
is therapeutic, not religious.
People today hunger not for
personal salvation, let alone
for the restoration of an
earlier golden age, but for the
feeling, the momentary
illusion, of personal well-
being, health, and psychic
(Christopher) Lasch,
(The) Culture of Narcissism
sexes. These ideas are echoed in the
narrator's depiction of his relationship
with his pregnant wife. And with the
birth of her child and the sentencing of
the flounder (he is forced to watch the
woman's tribunal eat a fish dinner)
Grass brings his tale to an entirely
satisfying ending, a close which, unlike
so many other "major" novels,
proceeds from and nicely completes all
of the novel's lines. The flounder's final
(putative) defection to the women's
cause, his statement that he is now the
embodiment of male guilt rather than
male power, will certainly give pause to
every male-chauvinist pig or not who
reads this book.

Owen Gleiberman Judy Rakowsky
Cover Photo by Maureen O'Malley



Books: Great
Grass and
fool's 'Gold'

per sever

Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, April 15, 1979

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