What happens if you know somebody or are somebody who has committed crimes since a very young age? And now, because of this, you are convicted of a serious crime and aren’t sure how to get your life back on track? This is what many Americans face each year as they wonder what they can do to change their lives around. Child and youth will typically follow a path toward criminal behavior that has been paved for them since they were young, rather than engaging in it randomly. There are two types of delinquents: those in whom the onset of severe antisocial behavior begins in early childhood, and those in whom this onset coincides with their entry into the adolescent years. But what are the best ways to rehabilitate after everything has been said and done and the crime has been committed? Early intervention may be a great method to stop actions in their tracks – however, just identifying risk factors does not always make the risk go away and the fact of the matter is that people will commit crimes. So what do you do?
The truth is, too many are seeing large amounts of young offenders entering the adult system who should have been dealt with in the juvenile system at an early age. Young offenders, like ones prosecuted as adults, will be faced with harsh measures like solitary confinement for discipline. In 2013 (you may or may not remember on the news) an Ohio juvenile was placed in solitary confinement where he ended up spending an outstanding 1,964 hours in isolation! His longest period of seclusion was 19 consecutive days, which is just utterly disturbing for a child to be alone. The problem is that studies have shown that solitary confinement can cause serious psychological harm to children and effect their ability to rehabilitate, and yet confinement is used to punish young people for misbehavior, isolate dangerous children, and separate children vulnerable to abuse from others.
So you may ask the question: How can we help those same children rehabilitate instead of choosing to separate them from others for an eternity in prison cells?
- Increase the number of trained supervised staff in facilities
- Include more social workers and mental health professionals
- Provide adolescents with programs and activities in groups
- Reward positive behaviors instead of punishing bad ones
- Include education as a major resource, as it helps with re-entry into communities
Researchers at a meet known as the 2014 Advancing Science Serving Society meeting said that prisoners kept in isolation lose touch with reality while simultaneously increasing their chances of developing identity disorders when they spend long hours without social interaction. If these same people had pre-existing mental illnesses or childhood trauma, which is highly possible, it could be even more damaging than others expect! The truth is, solitary confinement should be used in only very exceptional circumstances when it is a last option. Improving behavior with good incentives shows lower rates of delinquency among incarcerated youth.
Have you or a loved one been incarcerated as a youth member of society? Do you believe that you have a chance at re-entry or someone you know should enter back into a normal society? If you are dealing with a case, you may want to take the time to gain legal representation that understands your claims. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today for more information!