Volunteer at juvenile detention center hopes to break teen crime cycle

Anthoney Hampton volunteers every Saturday at Marion County's juvenile detention center. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis man is hoping to prevent violent crimes involving teens.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office said so far this year seven people under the age of 18 have been charged with murder.

One of those cases involved a 16-year-old boy, who’s now accused of setting his family’s home on fire and killing his adoptive father.

This crime and so many others are disheartening for one man who volunteers at the county’s juvenile detention center.

Anthoney Hampton volunteers every Saturday and talks with troubled teens, many of them 16 to 18.

“You know out here they want to be adults, but, when I get to them and get to talking to them, they’re just children,” Hampton said.

Hampton said he shares with them personal stories about his past and the life he once lived.

“I went to prison for dealing drugs. I’ve been shot. I’ve been in the Marion County Jail over 10 times,” he said.

Hampton was given a second chance after being released from prison.

“A way to give back to these children, to let them know there’s something outside of that neighborhood, the gang banging, the drug dealing,” he said.

Some teens may be waived from juvenile court while others may be given a second chance. Hampton said he is hoping his message can reach some of those teens.

“It’s a way to hopefully prevent some of these kids from getting out of this incarceration and going back to their neighborhoods and them losing their lives the same way Jordan did,” he said.

Jordan White, 23, was shot and killed two years ago. Hampton knows a lot about this case because Jordan was his son.

“On 2015, the four homicides happened in our (Butler-Tarkington) neighborhood and a couple of weeks later my son got murdered,” he said.

Hampton said he knows he can’t change the past, but what he can do is try to impact the future.

“This is my church like everybody else they go to their church,” he said, “God gave this to me.”

24-Hour News 8 learned there are several different programs at the juvenile detention center. If you would like to volunteer, call (317) 327-8300 and ask for the volunteer coordinator.