On October 26th, Youth Today, a national nonprofit independent news source about children and youth programs, featured AFJ Participant, Malik, along with his AFJ Court Advocate, Brian, in an article about the importance of providing alternatives to incarceration and pathways to success for young people as opposed to detention.
"The first and only time Malik Rainey was arrested, he was 16 and charged, as an adult, with possession of a loaded firearm. But instead of serving what could have been up to 12 years in prison, he wound up in a court-mandated program that kept him out from behind bars as long as he stayed away from crime, and got an education and a job.
Rainey, now 22, got that second chance largely because Avenues for Justice intervened on his behalf. As Rainey and his mother sat in a Manhattan courtroom waiting for a judge to hear the teen’s case, an advocate from the nonprofit Avenues introduced himself. Alongside the mom and son, that advocate listened to the details of Rainey’s case, then later explained how Avenues could help.”
Since being mandated to AFJ in2019, Malik has earned a High School Equivalency (HSE) diploma, received Youthful Offender (YO) status where his record is sealed, gotten his driver’s license, and has been hired as a security guard. He hopes that with his OSHA-30certification, a credential he earned through AFJ’s OSHA training program, he can find a higher paying job in construction.
All of these accomplishments would not have happened had Malik not been provided with a second chance. No one knows this more than his Court Advocate, Brian, who stresses that the “goal is to allow these kids [the freedom] to fight their cases from the outside, build a good track record and show the court … the progress they have made to prove that they deserve a second chance.”