Davenport man says detention diversion programs changed his life

Now he hopes to give back and prevent kids from making the same mistakes

After Scott County Board members unveiled a new facility for their upcoming Juvenile Detention Diversion programs, one Davenport man says similar programs turned his life around. 

Diversion programs are intended to offer alternatives for juvenile offenders, rather than sitting in a detention center. Directors of the programs say they focus on counseling and community-based work to help understand how kids get involved in these bad habits to begin with. Ultimately, they hope to cut back on young criminals being re-offenders. 

Local law enforcement say they increased theft in the area being linked to re-offending juveniles is a trend. 

Shawn West is pretty busy. When he's not spending time with his family, he's working on his MMA fighting, or mentoring youths in his area. But as a teenager, West's future didn't look so bright.

"Criminal mischief from fighting and windows getting broken out...Fighting on the street and getting an assault...Disorderly conduct, interference with officials," said West. "It was always easier to be in trouble."

West grew up in what he describes as a rough part of town in Davenport. As the son of a single mom, he spent a lot of time unsupervised while his mom worked two jobs.

"No one was on my butt to get to school or stay in school or anything like that, or keep me in a certain direction." 

But by the time West was 16, he knew he needed to make a change.

"I always wanted to do good, it's just hard when you don't have those cards dealt to you." 

Rather than sitting in a detention center, he found himself in a local diversion program.

"You get an opportunity, you get a chance, to possibly speak and hear and learn a little bit about what is going on and what you have to look forward to if you continue to get in trouble."

Now 28, West credits these diversion programs for saving his life.

"It's the best worst thing that's ever happened to me," he said. "It's a blessing that I got that information and I was able to not hurt anybody, or not die, you know? So I was able to learn and build and grow from that."

While West says he can't change the past, he's dedicated the present to giving kids a brighter future.

"I truly feel that building that relationship with that juvenile is important." 

Although he's made mistakes along the way, West doesn't regret his journey to get him to today. 

"If I changed any of it, I wouldn't be who I am now. "


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • If You Only Knew
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Holiday's For You Giveaway
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • QC Health Alert
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Consumer Connections
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Our QC Cares

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center