Accordingto statistics, the United States is among top developed nations withthe highest population of children in prisons. In 2010, approximatelyseventy thousand teenagers were placed in detention on each day, andmost of them were boys. Most of them are put in adult jails and facethe risks of assault by their adult counterparts and being bullied bytheir juvenile prisoners. Throwing children into prison as apunishment is not only a harmful act but also can lead to thedestruction of their life and a danger to their psychological andphysical health. In addition, these punishments could make themcommit more acts of crime by learning from others instead ofrectifying their behavior. Instead of putting teenagers in prisons asa punishment, other intervention methods and penalties should beapplied to ensure they change their morals.
Thisproblem affects my cousin Brian who was arrested for being involvedin an armed robbery. Meeting him at the police office, I could notbelieve my eyes seeing that my poor cousin had long rough haircovering almost his thin face. He looked at me with his tired eyes toimplore and avoid my eyes due to a sense of shame. My anger graduallysubsided when I heard his weak voice say sorry with some tearsdropping from the fourteen-year boy`s face. I can`t forget his imagemany years ago he was a glib and attracting boy who told me funnystories and showed me around the streets everytime I went back homefrom town during vacations. I was jubilant to meet him three yearsago when his family immigrated to Las Angeles, but his father didn`tlike it here, so they moved out to Las Vegas. Unluckily, his motherwas shocked and become mad because his father took all her money andlost it in a gamble. Brian could not bear to see his parent quarrel.Thus he escaped out of this hell. Then his life dropped out as a bikegoing down a slope without brakes, and at last, he was incarcerated.His case is similar to many others, in my opinion instead of puttingthem in prison we should give them other chances to recover theirlife. Following are some solutions to resolve it.
Dealingwith a teen who is involved in drugs would be taking them to arehabilitator rather than putting them under custody. Thecognitive-behavioral therapy is a useful technique in the treatmentof abuse condition and it focuses on altering one`s behavior bycutting out the illegal practices and enhancing the positivebehavior. This method can be helpful in my cousin`s situation. Ibelieve that his substance abuse condition will increase in jailsbecause some prisons allow some prisoners to have access to drugs. This will put the teen in danger of continuing his habits or exposinghim to more drugs. The best manner to help youngsters to destroytheir habit would be putting them under rehabilitative custody wheretheir behavior would be monitored closely. The treatment combinesmedical methods, psychology, and love that can take about threemonths. I am a witness for this successful treatment, and I`m willingto save my cousin. I think this program will not only be helpful tothe youngsters but also minimize loss to the general community.
Anothermethod would be to make the teen realize that whatever he did was amistake and to allow them to make a decision of what they would do torectify their behavior. Some of the youths who are involved incriminal activities do so due to external influence, and when made torealize that such a choice was wrong, there are high chances thatthey would change their irrational behavior. Involving the offendedindividuals in such a program would be helpful. In this case, theteen will have to prove to the grocer that he regrets his conduct.Community sentencing is part of this method. Community sentencingfunctions as a better reformative action for youngsters who commitcrimes than putting them in prisons, which are saturated withcriminals of a different kind. This program is usually goal-orientedand may have long-term positive effects on behavioral change. Throughsuch a program, the teen learns to be responsible and undertakesvocational training on skills that will help them have betteralternatives of earning clean money. Such punishment also allows theteen to interact with the community as opposed to prison and is,therefore, a better way of making him realize that his actions werewrong and that he can concentrate his energy on more constructiveactivities that will be helpful to himself and the community he livesin. As part of the punishments in community sentencing, the youngsterwill be made to work for the grocer as part of his duty. Such a movewill benefit the grocer and help in creating a good relationship withthe boy and impact positively towards his process of behavioralchange. My cousin could also be involved in youth empowermentprograms where he encourages the youth not to encourage in illegalbehavior. Through participation in such programs, he will be able toachieve self-fulfillment by helping teenagers abandon/avoid illegalbehavior.
Puttingteens in prison separates them from the community they live in andleads to serious consequences. After release, the young persons willstill come back to the same locality and find it a challenge tointeract with the community. This could create a long lasting poorimpression of the teenagers, which can influence them to get involvedin more crime. Thus allowing them to interact with the communityduring their process of behavioral change will help them work onchanging the people`s perception and be accepted as individuals withrenewed character.
Toconclude, instead of rushing to put a child in prison, it isimportant to consider his life situation and determine some of thefactors that might have predisposed him to fall in criminal acts.Family background is a major factor that causes criminal actsinvolving drugs and robbery among young minors. In this case, forexample, my cousin was separated from his family, and this could bethe reason why he resolved to join the gang and get involved in anarmed robbery to get money. I believe that my cousin`s behavior canbe rectified through the application of the above-mentionedtechniques. The primary advantage of these methods is that Brian willbe more acceptable to the community after he has transformed.Focusing on above methods as a basic way to intervene the matter willensure that the teenager is rescued out of criminal with minimaladverse effects on them and the community.