Rehabilitating Delinquent Youth: An Examination of Delinquency Causation and Correctional Facilities Using Erik Erikson's Identity Development Model
Manick, Lily Cheyanne
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Recent policies advocate sentencing juveniles as adults. They raise the question of the effectiveness of prison and juvenile correctional facilities. Erikson's model of identity development in adolescents is used to examine this question. Since adolescence is a time in which youth go through what Erikson calls "identity confusion," they are more vulnerable to the influences and pressures of deviant, self-destructive behavior. This vulnerability is a result of their efforts to develop a sense of belonging and identity during this moratorium between childhood and adulthood. After examining numerous studies it becomes evident that the effectiveness of the type of program a juvenile is placed in is greatly influenced by their stage in identity development. In general, the younger the age a juvenile is incarcerated, whether in a prison, state or private institution or therapeutic camping, the less effective the program is. Conversely, older youth (over age 16) are most successfully treated in state institutions and therapeutic camping settings.
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