"It's very easy to pull a trigger if you don't have any future, you don't have any goals and you don't have anything to look forward to" says Superior Court Judge John Phillips. Having crossed too many youth with no options, in 2000, he decided to turn an old juvenile incarceration facility in Monterey County into a comprehensive learning and social services center for underserved and disconnected youth, called Rancho Cielo. It began with 94 students and today has 214 and has gone from being a school of last resort for young people in serious trouble to a place students around the county think about when regular high school isn’t working for them. This model could be expanded to other counties and even other states.“With everything we know, what it took the judge 20 years to figure out, others could do in five or 10."

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