Discussion 1) Small not-for-profit community organizations have been the unsung heroes for reaching high-risk children in many communities around the country. Explore these programs: Higher M-Pact, Fathers, and Families Center, Granny's House, Hope House, Rupert's Kids and WriteGirl. What are your thoughts? How do we engage communities in buying into the need to provide programs or activities to make a greater impact in preventing juveniles from engaging in delinquent activities? What would it take for you to be fully engaged in a community program for high-risk young people?
Discussion 2) Diagnosis is defined as “the art or act of identifying a disease from its signs and symptoms.” Please read Delinquent behavior: Criminalized rather than diagnosed, How Teenage Rebellion Has Become a Mental Illness and Diagnosing the Wrong Deficit. Finally, review the Executive Summary of an Ohio initiative diverting young people from detention facilities to community-based mental and behavioral treatment. What are your thoughts?
Discussion 3) In the last decade, many states have been challenged by lawsuits to remedy their broken and very dangerous systems of confining juvenile offenders. California, once regarded as "the pinnacle of juvenile justice practices” had declined so much so it became one of the worst in the nation. The State of Missouri recognized the problems they were having and closed the reform school in 1983, opting for a well-developed system of community-based residential and non-residential programs. View the video Learning From Our Mistakes: Transforming Juvenile Justice in CA . What are your thoughts on the following quote? “Central to the humane care of troubled youth is a fundamental shift in the organizational culture away from containment, confrontation, and coercion and towards empathy, basic knowledge about adolescent mental and social development, and supportive relationships between staff and young people.” Does our change in focus from the individual to the structural aspects of the system provide greater insight into the continued criminal activity of the 4 teens in discussion 10? Would you agree (or not) that the 4 teens’ recidivism was shaped by the system they were made to go through?
Discussion4) There has been much talk in the corrections community during the past 10-15 years about private prisons and how they may be cheaper and more effective to run. But there are questions about the welfare of inmates, possible abuses of inmates and training for correctional officers. For this week's discussion, discuss the pros and cons of private prisons.