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Pamela Monk Kelley
The Dr. William Glasser’s Reality Therapy approach is to encourage students to take responsibility for what happens to them, to make commitments and plan for constructive change.2 My current concern regarding the decline in appropriate social behavior and the detention center housing situation supports the approach that juveniles should be responsible for their actions. Instead, they are continuing to choose a life of enslavement after so many nations have struggled to acquire freedom for their people through bloodshed of their people. Survival does become the major concern, as the juvenile strives to protect his equilibrium in a systematic escalation of crisis among the urban poor. Juveniles are on need of a “rude-awakening,” maybe by participating in a compilation of consequences-oriented activities like preparing their wills, writing their eulogies and obituaries, and arranging their funeral budgets, they will be committed to change their lifestyles. “Crime begins in the mind, a juvenile has to think wrong before doing wrong.”
In this unit, I will present a case that status offenders are not similar to delinquents charged with serious crimes, and they require separate holding facilities while incarcerated. The indiscriminate integration of every juvenile into the same facility, restricts, rather than expands, the scope of educational and social opportunities for children. I am concerned about the current housing plan for secured facilities which do not address status offenders as individuals, but as a sort of generic category in which all juvenile delinquents are somehow considered to be alike.
B) I intend to provide a list of aftercare programs and services to be used as a source of reference by the juvenile. My students are ignorant of their rights and unaware of the opportunities that are still available to them under state law. I plan to teach them the correlation between programs and their future benefits, so as to enhance the student’s long-term adjustment.
C) Adolescent aggression may be a result of lack of family nurturance. Many diversionary recreational activities are excellent ways to help relieve adolescent aggressions. Students will examine the myriad circumstances that precipitate stress in families and have an understanding of/ and solutions to human dilemmas, a means of accepting and adapting to problems as opposed to becoming overwhelmed by them through social development problem solving strategies, the thrill of completing their genealogical trees, the suggesting of active and sedentary activities for both indoor and outdoor, for teams and individuals.
D) Mainly, my focus will be on the theme of “Freedom,” my goal is to motivate youth to stay free and respect freedom. This effort will be approached by introducing the students to nations who lived under the oppressive system of apartheid and slavery. I believe the majority of these juveniles are giving up their right to remain free among the “normal population” by committing senseless crimes for sport. Even though juveniles experience at length isolation from their families and peers, the recidivism rate is increasing. Despite vivid, well-planned presentations, the juveniles are too far removed from situations to understand the tribulations of slavery. This curriculum will be designed to teach the hardships and triumphs of African-Americans, Jews and South Africans. In spite of their struggles, these steadfast nations, are currently being persecuted for the color of their skin and religion. “Tough times will vanish, tough people will not.” The study of other cultures offers students the opportunity to understand people’s differences and commonalities.
E) My mission statement is to provide each student with the opportunity for empowerment. “What I have learned is that the purpose of education is to allow each individual to come into full possession of his or her personal power.” (John Dewey, Father of Democratic Education) I plan to empower each student to develop their “personal power”. through designing a plan book, with the following questions addressed;
1) Who am I? (Identity) 2) Why am I here? (Purpose) 3) Where am I going? (Direction) 4) How do I get there? (Academics)
The relationships between learning disabilities and delinquency has been highlighted by studies showing that arrested and incarcerated children have a far higher LD rate than children in the general population. While it is estimated that approximately ten percent of all youths have learning disorders; estimates of LD among adjudicated delinquents range from 26 to 73 percent.4
Many youths going into institutions are mentally retarded, have low IQ’s or learning disabilities. As such, they are educationally handicapped and far behind their grade levels in basic academic areas. Most of these youths dislike school and become bored with any type of educational program. Their boredom often leads to acting out and subsequent disciplinary problems.
[Table 19-2, Public Juvenile Facilities and Per Resident Operating Costs by Region and State, 1984-85, is available at the Institute.]
(figure available in print form)
This survey provides timely information on the number and characteristics of children being held in public and private facilities around the nation.8 I feel there is a dire need of more programs and placements, where the emphasis is placed in the aftercare treatment, not institutionalizing for the status offender. Incarceration is costly, and ineffective in preventing inappropriate social behaviors.
Let’s view this dilemma from an economic perspective, in 1985, the average cost of housing one resident in Connecticut for one year cost the state $66,100.00.9 However, if the juvenile were a welfare recipient, the parent would continue to receive state welfare assistance, while the child was incarcerated for an indeterminate period. The taxpayers are providing financial assistance twice, for the same child. This is a prime example of misappropriated funds, and welfare fraud. On the other hand, when I was teaching in the public schools, the state mandated welfare recipients to have their child attend school regularly, or risk the possibility of being terminated. Somehow, the parent would encourage the child to attend school to avoid termination. When the parental rights to provide care, custody, and protection become the duty of the state, parents should no longer receive welfare benefits. I’m not advocating total termination, but suggesting if more parents suffered financially, they would be more apt to control their children’s unwanted behaviors. The way the present system works, incarceration becomes a bonus, instead of a family dilemma for the juvenile and the caretaker. Where as the working parents are held responsible for providing legal representation, and all the accruing legal expenses caused by the misbehaving of their child.
The juvenile institutions today are well-equipped with recreational facilities and educational components. Overcrowded conditions are one of the major problems. Expense is the next problem for housing juveniles. The statement “It’s a lot cheaper to send a kid to Penn State then to the State Pen,” is an indication that society should invest more money in educating a child instead of incarcerating him. Overcrowding and attendant problems are reasons why Connecticut and other states now attempt to reduce their secure population and rely more heavily on community-based programs like home release, and referrals to the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Although there are many specialized programs, more transitional programs, or adequate placements should be designed for incarcerated juveniles with social and emotional handicaps.
Effective May 23, 1994, pursuant to CGS-46-133 (g), the admission criteria at the Juvenile Detention Centers operated by Connecticut Judicial Branch changed. The change was made because of the significant increase in the number of juveniles being referred to detention. The Centers located in Hartford, New Haven and Bridgeport will only accept the following juveniles for admission:Juvenile who does not fall within one of the above categories of this admission criteria is considered a Status Offender. In the case of juveniles for whom detention is sought solely because a parent or guardian can not be reached or the parent, guardian or shelter refuses to take the juvenile, the officer must first notify the DCF.11
1) Juveniles charged with a serious juvenile offense as defined by CGS-46-120;
2) Juveniles who are the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant or other court order to take such child into custody; or
3) Is ordered by the court to be held in detention; or
4) Is being transferred to such center from another center to await a court appearance;
Housing status offenders with serious offenders can be easily compared to putting juveniles in adult jails. Rosemary C. Sarri, debate 17, in Children’s Legal Issues, agrees there should be an absolute prohibition against the placement of children and adolescents in adult jails and correctional facilities, and the jailing of children and youth is wholly unnecessary. She is more concerned about the experience the juvenile will encounter, through abusive language and treatment while incarcerated. Incarcerating children does not “teach them a lesson.” Sarri suggests other effective alternatives and humane conditions should be considered. The fact is, the majority of youths are charged with misdemeanors and treated as if they committed felonies. Minorities are unfairly represented in the Juvenile Justice System, as well as being educationally disadvantaged youths.12 Treatment should be proactive, not reactive, as the aftercare for juveniles is patterned after the adult parole criminal justice system. This period is crucial, and determines whether the juvenile will need further rehabilitation and supervision. Also, supported by the empirical research of Thomas Kelley, he concluded that, “Status Offenders (and other offender types) may be pushed toward more serious types of behavior because of the effects of court processing. . . These findings would appear to lend support to the position that status offender statutes should be substantially revised or that most such offenders should be removed from juvenile court jurisdiction.”13 Justice Boochever and Chief Justice Rabinowitz shared the same view when concluding on an opinion in the LAM vs State of Alaska, Supreme case,”Protection of parental rights to care, custody and supervision do not seem to be an appropriate rationale for placing a child in an institution”. In cases involving status offenders, only after all else falls, should placement in a closed setting be justified.14
To express my opposition towards the disservice and wasted tax dollars absorbed by the Juvenile Justice System for children with family needs is to call the present system obsolete and unsatisfactory. Recently, the dilemma of a pregnant algebra student was disturbing to me, because she had, “no place to go.” Unfortunately, she was the product of drug abusive parents, who were unable to provide care, custody, and protection. The mother was in a “rehab” program, and the father continued to refuse treatment. The student was placed in detention because she disobeyed a court order to attend school. Being incarcerated, pregnant and with no where to go are extremely stressful risk factors for a fourteen year old adolescent. In spite of many court appearances, authorities were contemplating over adequate placement, and the mother had agreed to relinquish parental custody rights to the student’s boyfriend parents. Other alternatives were available, however, finding the “best interest for the child,” seemed to be way overdue.
As indicated in LAM vs State, the gender of delinquency is no longer male-oriented. The female is incarcerated for minor status-type offenses, like truancy, running away, sex illusions, or misadventures. Aftercare facilities are very limited for the institutionalized female and the chances of receiving an adequate placement after incarceration are even slimmer if she is pregnant. This phenomenon has serious implications towards the changing role of women in today’s society. During the 60’s and 70’s, the overwhelming impact of missing fathers from their homes have help develop many dysfunctional families. As a single-parent, mothers were forced to maintain their families and take on additional responsibilities by becoming the “breadwinner” of their families. However, for the past two decades, younger children are becoming victims of neglect. Children are being arrested for hanging out after hours, not attending school or being left to provide for their own welfare. I asked, Where are the mothers, today? Women who exercise the right to care, supervise, or guide their minor children? Many mothers are young adolescents and lack social and parenting skills. Institutions need to be designed to expose the young female and male to cultural family traditions, proper etiquette, good grooming, and other elements that are missing from his/her family structure. Cross-cultural family phenomenons are victimized by alcoholism, divorce,child abuse, drug abuse, incest, and poverty, just to name a few. At one time these problems were predominately limited to lower-class, uneducated families. Recently, more comprehensive and convincing data supported that family problems are unevenly wide-spread across all social classes and all educational levels.
The Parens Patriae is the power of the state to act in behalf of the child and provide care, and protection equivalent to that of a parent. Literally, it empowers the state to be the father of the child.19 To incarcerate children to control them misrepresents what “fatherhood” is all about. The common denominator is control, however, love, and nurturing are the missing factors. To deemed it necessary for the state to control so many children, leaves me to conclude, “We don’t have a youth crisis, we have a parenting crisis!”
Under the 1976 law, the Welfare & Institutions Codes # 600, 601, and 602, cover the three different types of juvenile clientele who penetrate through the Juvenile Justice System daily.20 Type code 601 covers the handling of the status offenders and have been of overwhelming interest and concern in the study of delinquency. Immoral lives and disobedience prior to attending court do not improve after court intervention. In most cases, behaviors get worse.
This flexible curriculum is designed for “reluctant learners,” a very unique population of students. The reluctant learner is described as a delinquent offender, who is apprehended for persistent brushes with the law, and/or behaviors that are excessively violent and destructive. Also, he exhibits poor social and adaptive skills, erratic attendance, different abilities and grade levels, and is temporarily placed for a short or long indeterminate period.
The teacher is unaware of whether the student is a status or severe offender. Juveniles’ charges are confidential and not assessable to the classroom teacher. Therefore, classes are grouped heterogeneously, in deed, the common bond is incarceration and institutionalization.
Due to the uncertainty of the daily routine of my classes, the most effective classroom management activities are those that are individualized and can be completed on a daily basis. The suggested PLAN BOOK serves as a structured tool for a revolving population, which organizes the search for pasonal identity, and acquires that knowledge of the “Total Self,” By using the PLAN BOOK system, the following skills are developed; Math, Language Arts, Vocabulary, Functional Living, Decision-making, Responsibility, Organizational, and appropriate behaviors. As the student begins to work on the PLAN BOOK, he/she will log/record critical incidents to assess and reflect his/her own personal growth.
|Objective:||Students will design a cover for the Never Alone PLAN BOOK.|
|Question:||What does freedom mean to you?|
|Materials needed:||Construction Paper or File Folders, Color Markers or Crayons.|
|Objective:||Students will make a list of unfamiliar words used in the Declaration of Independence, Emancipation of Proclamation, or the Bill of Rights, and use a dictionary to discover the derivations of the words.|
|Question:||How do “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” fit in with your idea of being free?|
|Materials needed:||A copy of each document and a dictionary Worksheet #1 Declaration of Independence|
|Objective:||Students will view the movie “Glory,” and tell about the plight of the first black regiment.|
|Question:||What issues are worth fighting for? Which ones are not?|
|Materials needed:||Movie - Glory|
|Objective:||Students will be able to make a display on the bulletin board using photographs or clippings of Civil War heroes.|
|Question:||What is a coward, and how do you feel about one?|
|Materials needed:||Copy of pictures from books, encyclopedias, etc.|
|Objective:||Students will be able to role play a slave auction.|
|Question:||Which characteristics of being a slave are similar to your incarceration?|
|Materials need:||Characters: auctioneer, overseer, slavemaster, slave and script. Worksheet # 2 A Live Stock Auction|
|Objective:||Students will view the movie “Queen,” and learn about one’s transformation from slavery to freedom.|
|Question:||What obstacles made it difficult for Queen to make an easy transformation?|
|Materials needed:||Movie - “Queen,” by Alex Haley|
|Objective:||Given a list of Juvenile rights, students will be able to determine which of their rights were violated.|
|Question:||Which rights do you think juveniles abuse the most?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet #3 Juvenile Rights|
|Objective:||Students will be able to make up “Juvenile Bill of Rights”.|
|Question:||Do juveniles have the same constitutional right to be free from reasonable search and seizure as adults?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet #4 Juvenile Bill of Rights|
|Objective:||The students will view the movie “ Mandela,” and learn about the struggles of South African through the oppressive movement of Apartheid.|
|Question:||Why did Nelson Mandela decides to remain in prison after the offer for his release?|
|Materials needed:||Movie - Mandela, starring Danny Glover|
|Objective:||By using art, writing, etc. the students will be able to assess their need for love, power, security, status, autonomy, self-image, and social relationships, by describing their role-model.|
|Question:||Why do you admire this person? (for love, power, etc.)|
|Materials needed:||Request may vary|
|Objective:||Given a $10,000.00 allowance, students will make a list of ways they would spend the money, and assess their use of money to examine their self-concept.|
|Question:||What can you earn by working at a place.like McDonald’s?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 1 For the Love of Money|
|Objective:||Given a series of learning assessment tools, the students will be able to recognize their studying habits effectiveness, and their different styles of learning.|
|Question:||Summarize your style of learning, How do you learn best?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 2 Your Thinking and Learning Style|
|Objective:||Given a series of hemispheric mode indicators, the students will be able to recognize which mode they process information.|
|Question:||What mode do you process information?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 3 Hemispheric Mode Indicator (HMI), Are you left or right brained?|
|Objective:||Given a genealogical chart, the students will be able to fill in information about their family ancestry to the best of their knowledge.|
|Question:||What does the quote, “You can’t make a place for yourself under the sun if you keep sitting in the shade of the family tree!” means?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet #4 Genealogical Chart|
|Objective:||Given a picture of different identities, the students will be able to select a personality or identity, and describe in what ways they could introduce their own original ideas for a variety show.|
|Question:||What is easy for me, I can do quickly, I enjoy it, I am competitive at it, and I do it very well?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet #5 Seven Intelligences|
|Objective:||The students will want to know more about themselves, and their identity.|
|Question:||Answer the question, Who am I?|
|Materials needed:||Tape Recorder and Cassette Tapes|
|Objective:||After identifying a problem, the students will be able to develop problem solving solutions.|
|Question:||How many different solutions can you suggest to solve the crime problem in your community?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet #1 Defining your problem|
|Objective:||Based on inappropriate social behavior, students will be able to complete a time line with crucial events that lead up to their incarceration and include a realistic projection of their future.|
|Question:||What period of time would you change and why?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 2 Time Line|
|Objective:||The students will trace the process and origin of the Juvenile Justice Court System.|
|Question:||Should family situations fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court?|
|Materials needed:||Recommended publication: Searching for Justice. Connecticut Courts, pg 22. External Affairs Unit, 231 Capitol Avenue, Drawer M. Station A., Hartford, Ct. 06106. (203) 566-8219.|
|Objective:||The students will learn about the landmark Supreme Court decision on Juvenile Justice. The Gault case.|
|Question:||What constitutional right protected the in re Gault case?|
|Objective:||The students will role play a hypothetical criminal case of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.|
|Question:||Are minorities treated differently in the criminal justice system?|
|Material needed:||Recommended text: Delinquency: A mock trial, Opportunities for Learning, Inc.|
|Objective:||The students will view the movie, “ Mrs. Doubtfire,” to debate a judge’s decision on a custody dispute.|
|Question:||What application of family law is in the best interest for the children?|
|Materials needed:||Movie - Mrs. Doubtfire|
|Objective:||The students will role play a hypothetical civil case involving a legal question of child custody.|
|Question:||When should parents be denied the right to provide care, custody, and protection for their child?|
|Materials needed:||Recommended text: Custody: A mock trial, Opportunities for Learning, Inc.|
|Objective:||The students will be able to select a career that is realistic and reachable.|
|Question:||What criteria did you based your career selection on? (Money, experience, enjoyment, etc.?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 4 Job Preference|
|Objective:||The students will be able to express their purpose in life, and take responsibility for their incarceration.|
|Question:||Answer the question, “Why am I here?”|
|Materials needed:||Tape Recorder and Cassette Tapes|
|Objective:||The students will be able to watch films on college life, and note the advantages of college life vs incarceration.|
|Question:||What are the advantages of college life?|
|Materials needed:||Video on College life|
|Objective:||The students will be able to design a “missing child,” poster, milk carton, or a family portrait with their picture missing from it.|
|Question:||How is being incarcerated similar to being considered “ missing” from your community?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet# I MIA|
|Objective:||The students will be able to write their eulogies, and last will and testaments.|
|Question:||Who would be affected by the untimely event of your death?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 2 Last Will and Testament|
|Objective:||The students will be able to plan their funeral budget.|
|Question:||What kind of funeral ceremony would you prefer, and how would you pay for these arrangements?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 3 Funeral Budget|
|Objective:||The students will be able to determine consequences for their actions.|
|Question:||What people, places, or things do you need to change to live a more productive life?|
|Materials needed:||Worksheet # 4 Corner to Coroner|
Objective: The students will be able to listen to a mortician, and ask questions about cremation, embalming fluid, and a career in mortuary science.Question: What are the side-effects of embalming fluid when misused?Materials needed: Speaker from a funeral parlor.
Objective: The students will be able to write their short and long term goals.Question: How does your juvenile record effect your long term goals?Materials needed: Worksheet #5 Short and Long term goals
Objective: The students will be able to choose what direction they want to go?Question:: Answer the question, “Where am I going?”Materials needed: Game - “Wheel of fortune”(torture), or “Monopoly.”
Objective: Based on a specific problem, the students will explore appropriate resources to address their needs.Question: How do I get there?Materials needed: Worksheet # 1 The Map of Life
Objective: The students will be able to continue their educational goals and receive course credit.Question: Why is it so important to get an education in today’s society?Materials needed: Worksheet # 2 Planning for the Future
Objective: The students will be able to use sound therapy as an alternative to relieve stress.Question: What does Michael Jackson’s song “Man in the mirror,” mean?Materials needed: Karaoke - Video Sing-A- long
Phillips, Steven, No Heroes. No Villains The Story of a Murder Trial, Vintage Book, 1989. A novel that deals with a fine and simple explanation of the process of criminal law and its practice.
Siegel, Larry J., Joseph J Senna, Juvenile Delinquency. Theory, Practice, and Law, 3rd edition, West Publishing Co., 1988. An excellent text of theory, practice and law that presents the diverse views and perspectives of juvenile delinquency.
Skolnick, Jerome H., and Elliott Currie, Crisis In American Institutions. 3rd edition, Little, Brown and Company, 1976. A balance and analysis of American institutions. Elaborating on the environment, workplace, and welfare, including social services as child care, housing, and problems of the aged.
Kimbrell, Gladys and Ben S. Vineyard, Entering the World of Work. 2nd, Edition, Mcknight Publishing Co. 1983. Many ways of searching for employment, and how to develop self-confidence and money management skills.
2) Unit Two - Who am I? Lesson Plan Forms for lessons 1-7, and worksheets 1-5.Worksheet #1 For the Love of Money Worksheet #2 Your Thinking and Learning style Worksheet #3 Hemispheric Mode Indicator (HMI), Are you left or right brained?Worksheet #4 Genealogical Chart Worksheet #5 Seven Intelligences
3) Unit Three - Why am I here? Lesson Plan Forms for lessons 1-9, and worksheets 1 -4.Worksheet #1 Defining your problem Worksheet #2 Time Line Worksheet #3 In re Gault Case Worksheet #4 Job Preference
4) Unit Four - Where am I going? Lesson Plan Forms for lessons 1-8, and worksheets 1-5.Worksheet #1 MIA Worksheet #2 Last Will and Testament Worksheet #3 Funeral Budget Worksheet #4 Corner to Coroner Worksheet #5 Short and Long Term Goals
5) Unit Five- How do I get there? Lesson Plan Forms for lessons 14, worksheets 1-2.Worksheet #1 The Map of Life Worksheet #2 Planning for the Future
Delinquency A mock trial, Opportunities for Learning, Inc.
Custody: A mock trial, Opportunities for Learning, Inc.
Step by Step Through The Juvenile Justice System: A Handbook for Connecticut, Second Edition, the Hartford Institute of Criminal and Social Justice, 1988. (190 New Britian Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut 06106, (203) 527-1866.
Contents of 1994 Volume I | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute