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NCJ Number: 91422 Find in a Library
Title: Smaller Secure Care Units in State Training Schools (From Research and Serious Juvenile Offender, 1983, Tape 5 - See NCJ-91418)
Author(s): R Coates
Date Published: 1983
Sponsoring Agency: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
Reno, NV 89507
Sale Source: National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
P.O. Box 8970
Reno, NV 89507
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This longitudinal study examined the impact of juveniles of the use of small secure care units compared to larger secure care training schools in Massachusetts, with attention to changes in youth at time of release and within 1 year after release.
Abstract: The study involved following 500 youth from their entrance into small secure care units until 6 months after release. Some comparisons were made with how the kids were handled in the larger training school population. The focus was upon interactions between the juvenile residents, between residents and staff, and between members. The lower number of youth in the smaller secure care units permitted more personal interactions between staff and residents, since the handling of a large population involved attention to regimen and the threat and use of force to maintain control. The smaller units also involved more people from the community in programming, and residents were more often released to participate in supervised community activities. Over the short run, programs in the smaller secure care units improved the self-image of residents as well as social skills and attitudes toward authority. Within 6 months of release, however, whatever gains had been achieved were lost due to the negative influences of the network of family, peers, and community to which the juveniles returned. This points up the need for attention to impacting the networks into which the confined youth return. Upon entry to secure care, a youth's family and community social network should be assessed, and efforts should be made to either change the network or introduce the youth to a new network upon release so as to sustain and build upon positive gains made during the corrections period. Data were collected over 1970-76. One policy implication is a recommendation that small secure settings be provided throughout the State rather than a few large facilities. This would provide more program options and the opportunity to match various types of youth to particular programs. Some research suggestions are offered.
Index Term(s): Juvenile correctional facilities; Massachusetts; Systems analysis; Violent juvenile offenders
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