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Counseling of Juvenile Males and Recidivism

Introduction

The rate of juvenile crimes especially in males seems to be rising and the trend has had many innocent people affected by these crimes. A juvenile has been defined as a person who has not attained the age of 18. Surveys conducted indicate that approximately 2 million juveniles are arrested yearly with those from poor states and homes being the most affected. Further research also indicates that the number of male offenders is higher than that of their female counterparts and they are notorious for crimes such as rape, theft and drugs (Wines, 1896). This has been attributed to various reasons such as the young men’s need to express their masculinity. Factors such as the quest to appear tough and daring among their peers are the main causes that lead the male juveniles to commit antisocial or illegal behaviors.

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Due to the fact that these juveniles are below the age of 18, they cannot be tried as adult offenders and in most cases, depending to magnitude of the crime committed, the juvenile court may appear lenient to the juvenile offender. Serious crimes such as rape and robbery with violence may lead to the juvenile offender being detained in juvenile custody or institution. However, despite the penalties imposed on the detained male offenders, they commit the crimes several times once they are released to go back to the community. This recidivism of juvenile offenders is on the increase with many of them committing more than three crimes after their detention. This research will therefore discuss whether counseling should be introduced to the detention camps to reduce the rate of recidivism among the male juvenile offenders (American Psychological Association 2000).

Statement Of The Problem

Recidivism has been viewed as a consistent and continuous form in juvenile delinquencies despite the juveniles having completed their terms in detention centers or probation. Some predicators for recidivism have been attributed to the age and status of the juvenile during his first conviction, drug and alcohol abuse, the length of the first detention among many other factors.

Previously conducted studies indicate that the high rates in recidivism are linked to low levels of education among the male juveniles. The studies further argue that lack of education is due to the fact that the juveniles are not encouraged to join school and learn hence become ignorant to many factors. The detention camps focus on punishing the juveniles rather than rehabilitating them through various modes such as counseling. This hardens the juvenile and once they complete their term in the detention camp, they commit another crime and end up in the detention camp several times. The male juvenile offenders rate highly in recidivism upon being released as opposed to the female offenders.

Purpose Of Research

Bearing in mind the problem at hand, this research is therefore aimed at finding a lasting solution to the problem of recidivism among the male juveniles. The aim of this research will be to discuss the role of counseling program in juvenile detention centre as a mode of reducing the rate of recidivism.

The other aim of the research is to study the group counseling of juvenile males in detention facilities and how this counseling reduces recidivism.

It will also discuss the mode of adopting the counseling programs in the institutions and the legal implications of the process.

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The other aim of the research will be to determine the scope of counseling in decreasing the chances of offenders from repeating their crimes once out of detention camps.

It will further discuss the role of the centers as rehabilitation centers rather than punitive centers in helping the juvenile to reform. This includes introduction of educational programs in various subjects such as reading and crisis counseling that help in reduction of recidivism.

Literature Review

According to Hess (2009), juvenile recidivism is also known as chronic juvenile offending. She attributes it to both factors of frequency and duration and defines juvenile recidivism as offenders who engage in numerous repetitions of crimes over a period of time after serving conviction sentences. The main contributing factors of juvenile recidivism include poor family and social background, family factors such as alcoholism and abuse and previous history of offenses by the juvenile. Poverty is the main reason of recidivism with the juveniles being accustomed to the harsh life hence leading them to commit further crimes in order to survive. The male juveniles from poor background commit petty crimes such as shoplifting. Juveniles from shaky family backgrounds such as violent families and alcoholism is a main contributing factor in juvenile recidivism. This has been attributed to the fact that the family members serve as bad example and the home atmosphere is not conducive for a juvenile from detention. The family atmosphere causes the juvenile to commit further crimes due to lack of proper support.

Introduction of counseling programs in various juvenile detention institutions indicate a decrease in the rate of recidivism (Loeber and Farrington, 1998). This is in particular to offenders who receive the counseling in earlier stages of detention hence decreasing their chances of engaging in further crimes upon their release in the community. Further, the parallel punitive measure in the detention camps only hardened the juveniles instead of helping them change for the better. The juvenile offenders therefore continue their recidivism and turning to adult criminals.

Juveniles in peer groups tend to commit further crimes due to peer pressure. According to psychologists, the peer groups lack proper guidance therefore taking upon them to commit actions that sought to gain recognition in the society. Marquart and Sorensen (1996) argue that the quest of attention among the peers leads them to commit numerous crimes and this can only be solved by giving them proper guidance rather than punishing them. Counselors understand the male juveniles and the main factors that lead them to commit the crimes hence addressing the problem from the core (Civic Research Institute, 2005).

Research Methodology

The main research methods that will be used to collect relevant information will be use of questionnaires, conducting surveys and interviews. This are preferred sources as the data collected is primary data and they are cheap means of collecting information. They are also the best methodology as they engage the participant on one-to-one basis hence allowing the researcher to see their attitudes and expressions when giving the information. They also create a level of familiarity between the researcher and the participants hence increasing the level of excellent outcome of the study (Kothari, 2004).

The sample participant to be used to collect information will be participants between the age of 13 and 16. The researcher will conduct the research in three different juvenile centers in different states within the United States and will recruit 40 participants from each juvenile facility making it a total of 120 participants in total.

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To be able to conduct the research in the detention facilities, the researcher will have to adhere to certain rules. Permission should be granted from the detention facilities to conduct the research within their premises. Further, the participants have to meet three important qualifications so as to be recruited as samples to be used for research. The first requirement is that the participant should fall under the age bracket between 13 and 16 years old. They should also have a written informed assent and lastly notify their legal guardians or parents about their participation in the study.

Each participant will be required to answer a questionnaire requiring them to fill in details such as what they had been charged with, the length of their detention and their goals, if any, upon their release. They will also be given a survey which will answer questions regarding their feelings towards incarceration, their feelings and attitudes towards their peers within the detention facilities and also about the exuded confidence in reaching their set goals in the questionnaire. The participants will then undergo a 90 days of group therapy upon which they will be required to fill in another survey with the same set of questions of the first survey. The participants will then be interviewed after the lapse of two years upon being released from the detention facility that will help to determine whether the group therapy had any effect on the reduction of recidivism in the span of two years as a free citizen.

The Research Variables

The variable of this research is mainly group therapy and the rate of recidivism reduction. It is for this reason that the participants will be divided into three categories. The first 40 participants from the first detention facility will receive neither personal nor group therapy. The second group of 40 participants from the second detention facility will only receive one-on-one or personal therapy conducted for 90 days. The last group of participants will receive a 90 days group therapy. The relationship between the variables will be determined by the type of therapy received by the participants and their effect on the reduction of recidivism.

The following operational definition was used to determine whether group therapy was effective in reducing the rate of recidivism. Group therapy is counseling given to a group of peers help up in detention while recidivism is repetition of crimes after being released from detention. The research showed that compared to personal or one-on-one therapy of the juveniles, group therapy was the most effective to help reduce further engagements to crimes by the juveniles once they were released from the juvenile detentions.

The Benefit Of The Study

The research will help the reader to understand the usefulness of implementing group therapy over various treatments that seek to reduce the high rising rates of recidivism.

The revelations of the study will help the juveniles to be fully rehabilitated by the time they are leaving the detention camps.

It will also widen the knowledge of people who fail to understand why the juveniles engage in recidivism hence helping the juveniles get the right kind of group therapy treatment.

This study will also be a benefit the society at large. The members of the society are the most affected with juvenile recidivism and the study findings will help them cope with juveniles out of detention facilities. This will be in contrast to the treatment by juveniles by the society who treat them as outsiders hence leading them to commit more crimes.

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Limitations of The Study

The research is deemed to be faced by various challenges. The major challenge likely to be faced is when collecting data from the participants. Most participants may be unwilling to reveal the true information required hence affecting the outcome of the research. Due to their criminal background, they may appear reluctant to open up to a stranger and is bound to give a cold response.

In addition, the age of the participants may be a limiting factor to accomplish the study. The participants should hit the target limit of 120 members all aged between the age of 13 to 16 years. The participants in the chosen detention centers may fall below or above the set age bracket hence affecting the outcome of the study.

The male juvenile participants may also pose as a challenge when collecting data due to their masculinity issue. They may refuse to receive therapy due to superiority complex and this is another limitation of the study.

Conclusion

With the juvenile male offenders recording the highest number in juvenile recidivism, the study is important to indicate how the level of recidivism can be reduced. Personal and group therapies have both been proposed with each serving its own arguments as to why they should be adopted. This research will focus on group therapy as a remedy and determine why it should be used in place of personal therapy. The study will use the participants to study the effectiveness of both personal and group therapy to determine the validity of each through the outcome.

References

American Psychological Association (2000). Psychological Abstracts. American Psychological Association Vol 87, 1-2.

Civic Research Institute (2005). Juvenile Justice Update. Pittsburg: Indiana University

Hess, K. (2009). Juvenile Justice. USA: Wadsworth Pub Co

Kothari, C. (2004). Research Methodology: Methods and Techniques. Delhi: New Age International Ltd Publishers

Loeber, R. and Farrington, D. (1998). Serious and violent juvenile offenders: Risk factors and successful. USA: Sage

Marquart, J. and Sorensen, J. (1996). Correctional contexts: Contemporary and classical readings. Philadelphia: Roxbury Pub

Wines, H. (1896). Report On Crime, Pauperism and Benevolence in the United States at the Eleventh Census, 1890: Analysis. USA: Government Printing Office

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