Jobs, not jail

News Flash

Salinas California Superior Court Judge John Phillips was troubled by the number of youth offenders that came before him. Many cases involved shootings, thefts, and assaults, and he handed out tough sentences to the young offenders. But, the longer he served and the more stories he heard about these children’s troubled lives, the more determined he became to find some way to change their paths before they ended up in his courtroom.

It took him a few years, but his idea to turn a rundown boys’ school on the outskirts of Salinas into a school of opportunity came to fruition. Now called Rancho Cielo, the school offers students from 16 to 24 a hands-on, quality education and an alternative to street and prison life. 

Rancho Cielo statistics are impressive — 84.8% of Rancho Cielo graduates do not re-offend. Read more about Rancho Cielo programs, students, and successes here.

Well Street

How great that Judge Phillips was able to see how the hardened teen criminals in his court were made that way due to their exposure to repeated traumas and hardships.
Ranch Cielo, a school for troubled teens that's evolved into a vocational center teaching marketable skills and building confidence in its students is a model that should be adopted nationwide.


I love this story and I love the school and its mission. At that age, I would have fit in and been more motivated than the standard "bored to death" curriculum. I think all schools should be about choices instead of trying to hammer square pegs into round holes. Thanks for sharing!