The Youth Challenge program provides an alternative form of correction for criminal offenders. Students of the program attend daily classes on self-improvement and Christian ideology and give their testimonies and sing at various churches in Virginia. Offenders in the program have been charged with a variety of crimes, including larceny, possession of crystal methamphetamine, shoplifting, destruction of property, and arson.
Because the organization is founded on Christian principles, it relies almost entirely on donations from local churches, food banks, and philanthropists. Despite the program’s ~60% success rate, it is substantially underfunded and understaffed. Most of the program’s employees are former students.
The ones who stay bond very closely with their fellow students and often graduate from Youth Challenge successfully. After they graduate the program, the rest of their future is up to them.
Due to the sensitive legal nature of correction facilities, I have used false names for the students of the program.