Rancho Cielo

Written by on 22nd April 2024

Californian based Judge, John Philips lost count of the number of minors he had sent to prison, for crimes committed during a violent, unguided, and hopeless adolescence. He says, “You send these young people to prison, and they learn to become harder criminals,” so he decided to try to find a better way.

This led to the establishment of Rancho Cielo, a facility described as an environment where young offenders could pass through difficult years with a hand on their shoulder.

Now the facility is taking up to 220 students every year and has found that almost 85% of their first-time offenders who complete the programme never come before the courts again.

With a focus on helping students return to education and find jobs, experts and industry professionals come in to teach mainstream subjects, alongside training in practical skills such as carpentry, culinary skills, car repair, beekeeping and equestrian care.

17-year-old Omar says “Here the teachers are more chill, and you can do things that are hands-on—it’s cool.”

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