Youth Programs




great program

GREAT way to fight gang influence, behavior

           Sheriff James Cummings' newest addition to his youth program offerings is Gang Resistance Education and Training, or GREAT for short. It was launched in March, 2011 in the Mashpee middle schools. Although gaining strong traction nationwide, this was its first introduction to the Cape. Judging by how well it has been received, that may change.

           Police and school departments are the program's other collaborating agencies.

           "We've been proactive before," Sheriff Cummings concluded, pointing to programs like GEDs for inmates. "But this has even greater potential because we're getting to our intended audience much sooner -- thus increasing the odds for healthy, productive lifestyles."

           The violence-prevention curriculum teaches skills that help students avoid gangs, drugs, crime, and their attendant violence. It does that by zeroing in on beliefs, patterns of behavior, and other factors that help students avert destructive habits. By adopting a "mentor, positive role model" style, GREAT instructors show students how to:

           √Grasp their role as members of a family, a school, and a community;

           √Identify and realize realistic goals and make good descisions;

           √Communicate and empathize with others;

           √Deal with peer pressure;

           √Manage anger and resolve conflicts; and/or

           √See through the myth and ferret out the truth about gangs and violence

           GREAT has four components: middle school, elementary school, a summer program, and family training. Sheriff Cummings has opted for middle school (13 weeks) and elementary school (six weeks), the program's two more in-depth offerings.

           Some of the nation's most effective and renowned organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Association of Police Athletic Leagues among them, have signed on as GREAT partners.

           Concludes the Sheriff: "My hat is off to these child advocacy groups. I'm sure they realize the same thing we did. That to have any chance at immunizing youngsters against deliquency, violence and gang membership, a program must be school-based but also law enforcement-driven. That's the only way to ensure the expertise engages the audience.

           "GREAT also takes into account how much the grouping has shifted en route to where we are now, in this second decade of the 21st Century."



Sheriff Jim Cummings welcomes students to the opening session of the new Criminal Justice Academy.

In the Spring of 2006, the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office initiated a Criminal Justice Academy for High School students. The goal of this experience is to educate students, who are interested in criminal justice or law enforcement as a career, about the role of the BCSO and how it works with other public safety agencies across Cape Cod. Because the Sheriff’s Office is not just corrections, this academy gives students a broad perspective of all our departments and many of the other agencies we work with. Presentations include K-9, Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), Court procedures, Special Response Teams, Community Corrections, a tour of the BCCF and much more. 


If you are interested in applying for the Criminal Justice Academy, download and complete the Academy Application Form and the Liability Release Form. Then mail to address on the bottom of application.

Criminal Justice Academy Application Form
Youth Program Liability Release Form

Or call 508-375-6121 for an application.
















































"It is the mission of the Sheriff's Youth Programs to assist individuals, families, and communities through effective prevention/intervention services."

Youth Academy

The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Youth Academy is a collaborative effort bringing together specially trained staff from correctional, educational, police and treatment facilities to provide a supportive environment in which Barnstable County youth between the ages of 12 and 16 can develop pro-social skills and increased resiliency.

Specifically, the Youth Academy is committed to helping youth achieve important physical, emotional and intellectual developmental goals. The focus is on self-control, respect, teamwork, integrity, communication, and decision-making skills.

The Youth Academy operates during the summer. It runs four (4) consecutive weeks. The hours of operation are 8:30am to 1:00pm.

A typical day at the Youth Academy consists of physical fitness training, “march and drill” exercises, classroom activities, and other personal development learning experiences. Guest speakers include: U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, F.B.I., Barnstable County Fire Training Division, Barnstable Police Department, and Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office staff.

Download Youth Academy Application





B.A.R.S. Program (Bring Awareness & Reality to Students)

The purpose of the B.A.R.S program is to expose youth to the consequences of crime and the harsh realities of prison life. Students are brought into the Barnstable County Correctional Facility for a tour of the facility. A uniformed officer explains the day-to-day living conditions and operation of the facility. The tour ends in the Shock Unit, a military style substance abuse treatment program, and students have the opportunity to direct questions to Shock Unit “community members”. The program is designed to eliminate the false impressions of jail life being “macho” or “cool” in any way. Listening to inmates speak about their life choices helps students consider the choices they must make on a daily basis.
The B.A.R.S. "extended" program brings a corrections officer and inmates directly into the schools to discuss alcohol and other drugs, violence, and crime. The importance of education and positive influences are emphasized as major factors in enabling young people to make responsible, healthy choices. Students are invited to ask questions to staff and inmates.


Drug Education for Schools and Communities

Drug use and abuse among teens across the nation is always changing. Teenagers are using a variety of legal and illegal substances in order to get high. However, they pose serious side effects and potential life threatening consequences. The presentations include specific information about OTC (over the counter) medications, prescription drugs, MDMA (Ecstacy), Inhalants, Marijuana, GHB, and several other drugs of choice.

These programs are available upon request to all schools (staff training, parent groups, and students in grades 7-12), and other agencies across Barnstable County.

To request a Drug Education presentation contact:


Shaun Cahill






For more information on the youth programs available through the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, contact any of the youth program staff at the:

Sheriff’s Youth Ranch
6000 Sheriff's Place
Bourne, MA 02532




A message from Sheriff Cummings …

“We recognize that no single program or agency has the ability to change the course of a child’s life. That’s why we are partnering with community organizations, families, and local agencies. Through the Sheriff’s Youth Academy, we are providing Cape Cod with a positive atmosphere designed to promote responsibility, instill life skills, and build character. We need your support and assistance in this endeavor. Together we can all make a difference in the lives of our youth.”
Sheriff James M. Cummings