Juvenile program 'a place of last resort,' not rehabilitation

  • Article by: MARY JANE SMETANKA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 10, 2008 - 11:44 PM

A study group of juvenile justice professionals has suggested a major retooling of the Hennepin County Home School.

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meandmySep. 11, 08 5:30 AM

Dear Wow. This is a surprise. I am appalled at your comment!! It is unacceptable to label the African American community in this manner. And to strictly blame a family on the "bad behavior" of a child is just as offensive!! It takes a village to raise children!! You need to become educated before speaking such outrageous comments!! Your ignorance is intolerable!!

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tommigirl_27Sep. 11, 08 8:43 AM

I think the juvenile system is a joke! When I was young I was sent to multiple residental programs. They didn't help! I learned how to commit more crime from fellow residents and after each placement I became worse. My final placement was St Croix Camp. I was forced to hike and WORK! I learned more about life in those short three months that I spent there than the 3 yrs I had spent in any other place. Put the kids to work and take em to the mountains to truley get to know themselves and what they could be in the future. I know I am a MUCH better person now.

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vikingorumSep. 11, 08 8:58 AM

The comment by Wow was apparently removed. Regarding your comment, we as a society need to have a serious look at who commits crimes and why. If the majority of kids attending these programs are indeed black, then the follow on questions need to be why and then what do we do about it. Is it poverty, lack of a good education, a violent culture at home, or an inner-city gangster lifestyle? I know these are going to set off some tempers, but we need to discuss these things honestly. There are behaviors directly attributed to the before mentioned issues. I am not a racist or bigoted and I have seen many black folks who don't live these types of lifestyles. But, if our system is full of young, black males who fall into one of these lifestyles, then we need to address them. If there are racist overtones in my assessment, then a discussion of them will reveal what is truly racist and what truly needs to be changed in order to get this generation of young black men onto the road of success and out of this gangster lifestyle.

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Thumper5316Sep. 11, 08 9:22 AM

Meandmy, I respectfully say that you are full of boloney. I'm so sick of that "it takes a village" garbage. It takes parenting by the child's parent(s) to raise a child. Ever correct a misbehaving child that wasn't yours in a public setting after the parent consistently failed to do so? Most young parents today wouldn't know discipline if it hit them smack on the head much less be able to discipline their own children.

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meandmySep. 11, 08 9:48 AM

To Thumper: I was not trying to say that lack of parenting is not one of the causes in juvenile delinquency. I was suggesting that often times the raising of a child is a group effort. To think that you can raise a child by yourself simply because you are the parent is a misconstrude attitude. I have raised one adult daughter, and am in the process of raising two more,and know that my adult child would not be the wonderful law abidding citizen she is had it not been for other people's input and advise. On her 18th birthday, I contacted all of "my village" and thanked them for their help in raising her. You can't do parenting alone!! You need a support system when raising children. There is not parent manual nor is every child alike. To Vikingorum: I agree that if the majority of juveniles in "juvenile centers" are African Americans we need to look to societial influences that have contributed to their delinquency. The causes that you mentioned are a great place to start. We must also investigate how much does race play into the equation, i.e. racial profiling, discrimination, etc.

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securpoSep. 11, 0810:15 AM

Send all juvenile offenders to an island, and let them "work it out."

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securpoSep. 11, 0810:16 AM

Oh, yeah, CBS already did that.

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flyingleapSep. 11, 0810:20 AM

After reading the article on the Hennepin County Home School, I was left wondering how the board determined "what works" for juvenile rehabilitation. First, the comment that long-term programming does not work, is false. Studies, such as Lipsey and Wilson (1998) state that long-term programming does work, especially for chronic and serious juvenile offenders. Secondly, if the Hennepin County Home school is going to revamp itself, then I hope time has been taken to research, test, and pilot programs for effectiveness. There is a difference between program efficacy and program effectiveness. Third, if a shorter-term program is what the board thinks "will work" then I hope they have considered the interactions between age, offense, and program length. The program can only be effective if serious consideration has been given to the population it is going to serve. Borrowing and implementing promising programs from other states, counties, and cities is problematic and expensive. If changes are needed, then Hennepin County is in a unique position to really examine what Minnesota juveniles need, thoroughly research pilot programs with control and experimental groups, and then implement an effective program. At the end of the day, approximately 3000 juveniles spend their days and nights in residential placement. If we are going displace youth from their homes, then we owe it to them to utilize resources to ensure they receive the services needed to address their issues.

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Thumper5316Sep. 11, 0810:26 AM

meandmy, I agree that you need a support system. I and my husband (my support system) have raised three sons, all adults and contributing members of society. I don't know what other "village" members you refer to. Yes, there were loving grandparents involved in their life. What other people would you consider? Teachers? The majority of them calling us every year asking to put them on medications because they were all normal, active boys and they didn't want to be bothered with them? I'd rather thank the doctors that put them back together when they broke bones and stitched their gashes while they played sports. And I'd rather thank the coaches, who VOLUNTEERED THEIR TIME and reinforced the rules of fair play we, as parents, instilled in them since they were infants. Those peripheral people are important in growing to adulthood. However, they are simply reinforcers of those things that we, as the parents, taught the child.

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mnprincess18Sep. 11, 0810:31 AM

I went to a residential treatment program in Utah when I had just turned 17. I had run away from home and was heavily involved with drugs and severly mentally unstable...I spent 14 months at this treatment center, a place where for the first month you are not allowed to wear shoes, can't shave till you reach level 2, which you are voted up to by your fellow group of peers. It was a serious reality check that I am not automatically given rights...I have to earn them, somthing I think needs to be stressed to kids who are acting out or committing crimes. I came home from the program and lasted about 2 weeks clean...however a year later when I became pregnant all those skills I was taught in Utah came into play to get myself sober and responsible enough to raise another human being. We need to teach responsiblity and gratitude to those who assume they deserve more than they do. Family plays a lot into behavior however it really comes down to self responsibility, you always have a choice.

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