2003-01-18 / Community

Knight Working To Keep Kids Out Of Prison

Knight Working To Keep Kids Out Of Prison

Doug Knight is back where he started and he likes it that way.

Knight grew up in Far Rockaway in the 1970’s and 1980’s, going to local schools, playing ball at the Hartman Y and for local youth groups, seeing first-hand what drugs can do to individuals and to a community.

Now, he is back at his old middle school, MS 53, a couple of days a month, working with the Queens District Attorney on a program that he hopes will help keep today’s youth off drugs and out of prison.

"I saw lots of things when I was growing up in Rockaway," Knight told The Wave. "I always thought that I got lots of help when I was a kid growing up, lots of support from school, from the Hartman Y, from people like Frank Smith, who we called "Smitty," and who always helped people."

"I saw the dysfunction in the community, and I wanted to do something about it," he adds.

After graduating from the then IS 53, Knight played football and baseball for Far Rockaway High School and was a member of the swimming team as well.

After Far Rockaway High School, Knight went on to C. W. Post College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in criminal justice.

His desire to help people who were at-risk for prison sentences; Knight did an internship in his senior year of college with an organization called "Treatment Alternatives To Street Crime (TASC).

After his graduation from Post, Knight decided to stay on and quickly became the agency’s project director.

That started him on a career path that would allow him to develop alternatives to incarceration programs on a wider scale.

That was 1988. Today, he is the Director of Alternative Sentencing in the office of the Queens District Attorney.

He runs a highly-successful program that has shown a 72 percent success rate with second offenders.

In his new position, Knight works with addicts as well as with those on the district attorney’s staff who must develop sentencing dispositions.

Knight is in for the long term.

"The District Attorney is a good man and this is a great place to work," Knight says. "I am doing what I have wanted to do since I was at IS 53 – working with people and helping them"


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