Learning is the process of growth and change. “An unnurtured child can change and learn new behaviors if he understands himself, values education, and be willing to take the risk of participating in the new growth process.” (Julia Hamilton, 1994).1 The students must be faced with the notion that the harsh realities of being uneducated and choosing a criminal life, could result in a death sentence. Because children are so removed from the consequences of their behavior, the child should develop his own future goals through learning activities that deal with self-concept, self-worth and identity. One learns when he/she is ready to learn. A curriculum that requires a commitment from the learner is a drive for independency and autonomy.
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.