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Mentor hopes his efforts can keep kids straight

February 13, 2001|By MARLO BARNHART

Mentor hopes his efforts can keep kids straight



Editor's note: This is the third in a week-long series of stories profiling members of the black community who are making a contribution in the Tri-State area.

Being an African-American has its advantages for Princeton Young in his work as assistant warden at the Maryland Correctional Training Center south of Hagerstown.

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But the Hagerstown native said he has much more to offer.

Young said he feels he is part of two communities, both Hagerstown and MCTC, and has something special to offer each.

"For instance, I've helped start a mentoring program at the Alternative School in Hagerstown," Young said.

Working with the assistant principal, Lynn Gober, and the staff at the Alternative School, Young has been serving as a contact person for the program.

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"I'm very proud of that," Young said. "I feel if I can divert one kid it would be a great reward."

Young said he wants to work more with youth, which he said is an important piece of the crime prevention puzzle in America.

"Here I feel that my being African American has been an attribute," Young said. "My clients feel as though they can trust me."

A graduate of North Hagerstown High School, Hagerstown Community College, the University of Maryland and Hood College with a master's degree in community counseling and psychology, Young is a licensed professional/clinical counselor.

"In 1985, I began two years as a psychology associate at the Roxbury Correctional Institution working with inmates in a day-treatment program," Young said.

Bipolar disorders and other mental health factors that led to incarceration were part of the focus of that treatment.

A similar position opened up at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown in 1987 and Young remained in that capacity until 1997 when he became assistant warden.

The lateral move to MCTC as assistant warden occurred in the fall of 1999.

"A lot of inmates are from around here," Young said. "And a lot more leave MCTC and stay in Washington County when their sentences are up."

Working with inmates while they are incarcerated helps them become better citizens when they return to the outside, Young said. One way he does that is through an inmate/victims' program which he headed up until last month.

As part of that, Young provided therapy and testing for the inmates. Part of that therapy entailed bringing in crime victims to speak to inmates on what it feels like to be a crime victim.

"I was sorry I had to give that up. ... I really miss the hands-on part of the job," Young said.

Young is married and has four stepchildren.

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