The Office of The District Attorney County of Riverside operates a Crime Prevention Unit consisting of hard working prosecutors dedicated to reducing gang crimes and violence in our community.
District Attorney, Mike Hestrin, established a Crime Prevention Unit when he started his term as district attorney and asked prosecutors to perform at least six hours of community service per month.
Prosecutors dedicate their time to such organizations as the Boys and Girls Club as well as clubs they organize themselves. By inspiring young people to read, play games and interact socially with members of the DA’s office, Hestrin said he’s hoping to prevent them from getting involved with gangs or taking the wrong path.
Hunter Taylor, a prosecutor involved with the “Real Men Read” book club, estimates that some prosecutors are spending in a lot more than 6 hours with kids. “We’re probably putting in 30-40 hours a month just for that program,” Taylor said of himself and two other prosecutors.
Real Men Read has been meeting with at-risk kids, both in and out of juvenile hall, at locations across Riverside County. Its mission is to inspire young men to take interest in reading outside of school. Participants in the voluntary program are asked to pick out a book and read a chapter once a week.
“We bring them a bunch of different books and talk to them about what they’re reading,” Taylor said. “The kids read everything from James Patterson to some of the classics.”
Taylor said he’s seen a noticeable difference in the way many of the club’s hundreds of members look at reading. Young adults and adolescents, who might not have looked at a book outside of required school reading, he said, are suddenly reading for fun.
“We’ve had kids who have come in and said, ‘Man, I can’t believe you are making a reader out of me,’” he said.
Club meetings also provide youngsters the opportunity to learn other fundamental skills, such as how to knot a tie, how to fill out a job application and build a resume, Taylor said.
Prosecutor Luigi Monteleone is involved with “Board Kids.” The club, which has meetings in Riverside and Perris, gets children playing board games against law enforcement and prosecutors.
This unique program utilizes local prosecutors who reach out in local communities providing nationally recognized training and outreach programming in the areas of education, mentorship, truancy, Youth Accountability, gang awareness, life skills and parenting skills education.