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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 64131 Find in a Library
Title: BECOMING AN INMATE (FROM CONTROLLING DELINQUENTS, 1978, BY STANTON WHEELER AND HELEN MACGILL HUGHES - SEE NCJ-64125)
Author(s): M BAUM; S WHEELER
Corporate Author: John Wiley and Sons
Managing Editor
United States of America
Date Published: 1968
Page Count: 33
Sponsoring Agency: John Wiley and Sons
New York, NY 10158
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS STUDY EXAMINES THE FEELINGS OF YOUTH ABOUT COMMITMENT TO AN INSTITUTION AND ABOUT THE VARIOUS AGENTS OF DELINQUENCY CONTROL THAT HAVE AUTHORITY FOR HANDLING JUVENILES.
Abstract: INTERVIEWS WERE CONDUCTED WITH 100 YOUTHS BETWEEN 14 AND 16 YEARS OF AGE WITHIN 2 WEEKS AFTER THEY FIRST ARRIVED AT A CORRECTIONAL RECEPTION CENTER. THE INTERVIEWS CONTAINED OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS AND STRUCTURAL MEASUREMENT TO DETERMINE THE FEELING OF YOUTHS ABOUT INSTITUTIONAL COMMITMENT AND THE INSTITUTION ITSELF; THEIR FEELINGS ABOUT THE COURTROOM EXPERIENCE AND THE JUSTICE OF THE COURT'S DECISION; INITIAL REACTION TO INSTITUTIONAL LIFE; AND EFFECT ON THE YOUTH OF HIS INSTITUTIONAL STAY. FINDINGS SHOWED THAT PRIOR TO ENTRY, YOUTHS GENERALLY HAD ONLY VAGUE IMPRESSIONS OF INSTITUTIONAL LIFE, ALTHOUGH THEY HAD HEARD NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOUT IF FROM THEIR PEERS. THE DOMINANT RESPONSE TO THE COURT EXPERIENCE AND TO THE DECISION TO COMMIT WAS SHOCK, UPSET, AND UNHAPPINESS; THERE WAS LITTLE CONCERN FOR PEER STATUS OR RECOGNITION. COMMITMENT WAS VIEWED AS AN UNPLEASANT AND UNWANTED OUTCOME. INITIAL REACTIONS TO THE INSTITUTION WERE LARGELY NEGATIVE. ALL REACTED NEGATIVELY TO THE RESTRAINT AND LACK OF FREEDOM. YOUTHS ALSO HAD UNFAVORABLE IMPRESSIONS OF INSTITUTIONAL LIFE (FOOD, LACK OF ACTIVITIES) BUT FAVORABLE IMPRESSIONS OF THE STAFF. A MAJORITY OF THE YOUNG OFFENDERS FELT THEIR INSTITUTIONAL STAY WOULD HELP THEM PRIMARILY IN ITS DETERRENT EFFECT, AND 41 PERCENT SAW THE HELP AS A CHANCE TO REASSESS THEIR LIVES. THEY DID NOT EXPECT EITHER THERAPEUTIC OR HARMFUL EFFECTS TO EMERGE FROM THEIR INSTITUTIONAL EXPERIENCE. THESE FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT WHEREAS OFFICIALS SEE COMMITMENT AS A CHANCE AND OPPORTUNITY, RATHER THAN AS A PUNISHMENT, YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS VIEW COMMITMENT AS PUNISHMENT FOR MISDEEDS. THESE CONTRASTING VIEWS REFLECT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS INSTITUTION OFFICIALS FACE AND SUGGEST THAT INNOVATIVE ALTERNATIVE POLICIES AND PROGRAMS ARE NECESSARY IN FUTURE CORRECTIONAL PROGRAMMING. TABULAR DATA ARE INCLUDED. SEE NCJ-64132. (MJW)
Index Term(s): Correctional institutions (juvenile); Juvenile Corrections/Detention effectiveness; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Juvenile offender attitudes; Social psychology
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64131

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