Culture, Nature & Freedom: Treating Juvenile Offenders.
GronemanArgiro, T. W. Civ. 205December 12,1996In Kansas, Juvenile offenders are sent to Youth Centers. These are merelyChild prisons, lockdown facilities for kids. This style of treatment goesagainst every idea of growth put forward in this class.
In this paper I will tryto justify the use of residential treatment schemes through the ideas found inseveral of this semesters authors; including T. Huxtley, Rousseau, DuBois, Freud,A. Huxtley, and Mill. The Ideals set forth by these intellectuals should be thebasis for all treatment, to better the individuals and society.Order now
First, We can look to DuBois. He believes that people can change their ownconsciousness. He shows this through his Immersion narrative. This can’t workin a youth center. The only cultural ideal here is the Master/slave dialecticbetween staff and youth.
The sides work apart. The two can’t join because onedoes not experience the other. There is no way to be above the veil of theirstatus. In a residential treatment modality, Relationship building is key tosuccess.
The youth need to feel the veil has been lifted. It allows them toexplore safely and see the world in a greater view. The view as other is removedand a true balance displaces the master / slave one. Next, we can look at Mills Ideas on culture. He would like to elevate themorals of the human mind. To do this, we must continually test the standard.
Newideas must be able to circulate freely. We must weigh how all actions effectothers. This can not be done in these Youth centers as well. They have veryspecific codes and any questioning is reprimanded.
Cultural influx is at astandstill and Censor ship is at it’s highest possible level. A residentialtreatment modality gives all ideas a free shot. Self Government, A system usedby the youth assures a safe environment to share all feedback and new ideasopenly, to non judgmental ears. it looks at how one’s action are related toothers and provides a safe place’ for all expression. Allowing ideas to stayfresh and moral stability and growth to flourish.
This leads us directly to the dehumanization described by T. H. Huxtley. First,we have the effects of Social-Darwinism.
We are using our own projections ofnature for a model. These children are being culturally pushed aside forprogress, stuck in mini prisons. Where, rather than fix problems, we push theminto suffering so that we may achieve gains. Then there is the idea of thegospel of wealth. Why help these kids? My money is a product of an evolutionaryforce, so is there placement. Helping would only interrupt their punishment.
These Youth Centers also rob them of their ability to meet the goals of oursociety’s Protestant work ethic. They have no contribution! These three thingslet us dehumanize these children and put their responsibility off on others. Residential treatment, on the other hand, removes the gospel of wealthmentality; earn as much as you want, monetary forces are not evolutionary. Intervention is key to Residential Treatment, no punishment of lower classes. This system makes everyone equal. This flows into the work ethic removal as well,everyone contributes and the group benefits.
No individual benefit is given out. If one is good, then all are good. Finally, it erases the mask of Social-Darwinism. The youth work to meet goals for each other.
No one wants to be abovethe rest. A strong whole help everyone individually as well. A week whole causesresentment and jealousy. A look at Wiesel gives us insight to the effect of the political institution onthese Centers. Are these kids a product of our culture? If so how do we keepthis from occurring? The answer is not to lock them up.
What family bonds wereavailable? Instead of locking the kids up, we need to find our mistake!Rationality has an opportunity to fail here. Residential treatment letseveryone be separate and define their own meanings of life, between being andlife itself. This helps each youth find meaning in life virtue of their ownexperiences. From here we can move to A. Huxtley.
His views show what would happen if culturecompletely displaced nature in society. This translates to the society of ayouth Center. Youth Centers are completely denaturalized, almost to the point ofbeing sterile. The futures of these youth should not be predestined, and mappedout as in a youth center. Here progress is mapped. In a residential styletreatment setup the social control is through self government and peerinteractions, not a cultural controlling body.
Also the myth of progress isdismantles. Residential treatment looks for change not progress. These ongoingchanges allow for humanness. There is an availability of true human values, notjust the pop culture presented in the prison center.
Finally, we can look at Freud. His ideas link the behaviors exhibited to innerproblems with family and society. He brings into question the moral andcultural values instilled by other institutions such as church and school. Hetrys to place things in several different categories. First, The Eros andThantos Dialectic. Agressivity hang in the balance here.
Our family structureshould let us put the primary agressivity we have in check. Regardless, Freudlooks to the person and the cultural venue for answers. A youth center is only astorage facility. There is no therapeutic gain achieved in these Child Prisons. They merely use reactive measures to stop behaviors, instead of looking forantecedents proactively. Once again residential treatment has an edge.
Throughthe self government, relationship building process, and cultural challenges, theyouth in these settings work on the exterior antecedents that may be effectingtheir behaviors . This ,in addition to clearing the distorted cultural view,also provides a venue for problem solving and rational discussions of ideas. Itprovides a vehicle for the youth to begin the self searching required to lookinto some of these ideas and find a better reality. Growth and gain for all isthe key.
For Freud, this is achieved by keeping drives in check between thepleasure principle, our moral super ego, and the authoritative I in the ego. Again, this is only done in residential settings. Youth Centers only housechildren, hampering all these abilities spoken about above. I believe that the question of how to rehabilitate Juvenile Offenders is simple.
We must Fix kids instead of locking them up. The Ideas presented here are themost sound way to do that. These theories allow for mental growth, equality,change and freedom from censorship to new ideas. This is exactly what theseyouth need. Their culture has limited them and placed a veil over them insociety. Residential treatment is the only way to remedy this.
The safety ofidea exchange and the freedom of growth allow for each youth to develop thepersonality needed to question the right things and put the cultural puzzletogether. Youth centers only let them sit, and ponder the only culture they know. This makes the group Fester and fall further down the rungs of the societalladder. This setup only hardens the veil of separation between the troubledyouth and society.
As you can see residential treatment is the only alternativeto give these youth a chance to gain the skills needed for life today.