Smart Choices, Better Chances
The Community Relations Division presents the Smart Choices, Better Chances program to schools and groups across Arkansas.
Smart Choices, Better Chances is a law education program designed to provide youth with a better understanding of juvenile and criminal courts and specific criminal laws. Participants are told of the potential consequences of violating the law.
Studies show that an understanding of the criminal justice system is important for young people so that laws may have their intended effect on juvenile crime. The Attorney General's Office relied on assistance from educators, attorneys, legislators and law enforcement agencies to craft this law education program.
It is the goal of the division that Smart Choices, Better Chances captures a student’s attention in order to explain difficult legal concepts. Instructors visit schools throughout the state to present Smart Choices, Better Chances. Specifically, they discuss youth violence, gangs, weapons and controlled substances. Victimization and prison are also a focus.
A Juvenile Law Handbook is a companion to the curriculum for junior high and high school students. Elementary-school students receive a student activity book, thus the components and outlines of the program meet the needs of students of any age, educators, parents, and citizens.
For younger students, grades 4-6, the program is broken down into six one-hour lessons. For older students, presentations are available to present at hour-long assemblies.
To receive a Smart Choices, Better Chances presentation or to participate in the program, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (800) 448-3014. The Attorney General provides free training for volunteer instructors. The training is conducted periodically around the state and lasts two days. Anyone working with youth is encouraged to become a certified instructor.