Psychological Issues of Juveniles

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Psychological Issues of Juveniles


The subject of the paper is the psychological problems of juveniles in rehabilitation facilities. This matter is considered highly relevant. Modern researchers view mental issues and their consequences as an independent problem that has an exceedingly important medical, forensic psychiatric, social, and penal value. The close attention to this topic is primarily caused by the fact that such disorders are widespread among juveniles contained in rehabilitation facilities. Moreover, these conditions leave a deep imprint on the psyche of a teenager, contribute to the emergence of personality deviations that may become resistant, and have an adverse impact on the achievement of the objectives of criminal rehabilitation centers. In addition, the relevance of this topic may lie in the fact that the issue of the formation of stress in rehabilitation facilities is not completely disclosed. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the psychological problems juveniles face in the rehabilitation facilities.

Keywords: juveniles, rehabilitation facilities, family, problems

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Psychological Issues of Juveniles

Rehabilitation facilities play a significant role in correcting unacceptable behavior. Adolescents are the category of children that is at the greatest risk of suffering the negative influence of these institutions. Thus, it is immensely important to study the psychological problems they may experience in rehabilitation facilities. It should be noted that all teenagers who are sent to these centers endure mental issues. The impact of penitentiary stress on the formation of a juvenile’s personality is quite relevant. In fact, staying in rehabilitation facilities is a strong psychotraumatic circumstance for an adolescent, and it can potentially lead to different psychological diseases. The primary task of rehabilitation centers is to educate socially active juveniles that can be useful to the state and solve their life problems. Despite the positive intention of rehabilitation facilities, teenagers consistently experience mental issues in these centers. The purpose of the paper is to study the relationship of penitentiary stress and psychological problems in youths in rehabilitation facilities.

Criminalization of juveniles is a great social problem of modern times. Nevertheless, jail is not always a good solution. In the book Introduction to Forensic Psychology, it is noted that “psychologists, however, typically, raise doubts about the efficiency of correctional punishment for adolescents and argue that juveniles who act delinquently are not criminals but, rather, are troubled youths” (Arrigo & Shipley, 2005, p. 417). Most juvenile offenders who appear before the court, especially those who are accused for the first time, are released on probation, receive a deferred sentence, or are sent to compulsory rehabilitation. Rehabilitation facilities include institutions for teenagers with deviant behavior. These facilities are intended for adolescents who have committed socially dangerous acts such as an offense or a crime but were liberated from criminal responsibility on account of their age. However, about one-third of young people held in such centers are not offenders (Grigorenko, 2012, p.344). They are teenagers who need constant supervision. They are under the care of the court as their parents cannot, do not want, or are not allowed to take care of them. Some parents are in poor health while others neglect to raise their children or mistreat them. These centers also harbor teens who have run away from home.

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Rehabilitation facilities perform specific tasks. In the book Psychology, Law, and the Wellbeing of Children, it is affirmed that “rehabilitation programs should be multidisciplinary, foster emotional stability, encourage prosocial behavior, and illuminate the capacity of each youth to effect positive change in his or her life and community” (Miller, Chamberlain, & Wingrove, 2014, p. 45). Rehabilitation facilities ensure round-the-clock supervision and control over the behavior of juveniles. Thus, they eliminate any possibility of them leaving the premises of the institution. The educating character of the regime consists in a thorough organization of the life of troubled youths developing socially beneficial interests, tolerant attitude to people in combination with high standards and discipline. Professionals working at such centers apply methods of persuasion, coercion, and encouragement.

All current international conventions and legislative acts are aimed at the observance of human rights. There are core principles provide protection to children and adolescent population living in difficult conditions. All states are obliged to ensure that every juvenile who has violated the penal law or is accused of its violation should have full respect for his or her private life at all stages of the proceedings. The justice system regarding minors should primarily be aimed at protecting the well-being of the juvenile. It is necessary for every sanction to be commensurate with the characteristics of both the offender and the circumstances of the offense. American legislation is based on the same principles as the existing international conventions. However, even in the most optimal social conditions, prosecuting juveniles and placing them in a rehabilitation facility is accompanied by the loss of familiar surroundings and violation of personal space and freedom. Such drastic change would be stressful for any human being. For juveniles, it is a traumatic experience of a menacing character.

In rehabilitation facilities, adolescents frequently experience penitentiary stress. This state is related to staying in an institution that has an adverse impact on the psyche of the individual. In the book Handbook of Juvenile Forensic Psychology and Psychiatry, it is stated that “anyone who has spent much time in a locked juvenile justice facility recognizes that youth detention centers and correctional facilities (or “training schools”) are among the least equipped places to meet the mental health needs of youth” (Grigorenko, 2012, p. 2). Almost in all teens, such a facility causes a state of shock. In adolescents who have poor relations with the relatives, this reaction manifests especially acutely.

The whole period of staying in a rehabilitation facility is highly stressful. Nonetheless, the first several months are the most vivid and the most difficult at the same time (Arrigo & Shipley, 2005). The challenge is associated with the limitation of free communication. Social isolation is achieved by radical restriction of the communication system and the number of people with whom a person may come in contact (Arrigo & Shipley, 2005). Communication with some individuals, for example, friends, is entirely excluded; contact with family members, however, is permitted with restrictions. The number of visits and their duration is strictly regulated. This fact causes psychological sufferings in juveniles. A minor struggles with the fact that such social isolation disrupts the existing communication system. In addition, such factors as security and surveillance, restriction of the freedom of movement, and strict internal regulations also cause additional psychological problems in adolescents (Bartol & Bartol, 2015). In these factors, the essence of social exclusion is expressed. It is provided by the organization of the entire life of socially excluded people. It should be noted that after some time, most teenagers become accustomed to their new position.

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Because of the closed space and the absence of the possibility to communicate with friends, juveniles often feel anger and aggression. Many people believe that rage in adolescents is something abnormal (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p. 337). However, mere anger can be neither bad nor good. In such conditions, it is a normal phenomenon and can occur in any person. The important aspect is the management of this emotion. In adolescence, passive-aggressive behavior is shown often enough even in normal conditions. The purpose of such behavior in juveniles is to make the people working in rehabilitation facilities lose patience (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p. 337). Frequently, it is done unconsciously and becomes the result of unexpressed anger. A juvenile begins to commit certain actions in revenge (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p. 337). The tragedy is that if the teenager does not learn to control anger and does not get rid of passive-aggressive behavior, such course of action will become an integral part of his or her life even outside the rehabilitation facilities.

Frequently, when the anger in juveniles passes, they start experiencing depression. It is a mental disorder expressed by a dreary, morose mood with feeling of worthlessness, pessimism, monotony, lethargy movements, and various somatic disorders (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p. 338). There are three types of teenage depression. The first one is light adolescent depression. It is manifested in dark fantasies or night dreams. Another type is moderate depression. The teenager behaves as usual, but the content of the conversation is emotionally charged. Furthermore, it concerns the people who oppress the juvenile. In rehabilitation facilities, it is the personnel. The third kind of teenage depression is the severe degree. It has an impact on the thinking process. There are different manifestations of this stage of depression in juveniles. The most important one is that a teen loses the ability to think clearly and logically. It is necessary to treat all types of depression as they may lead to serious consequences (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p.338). Suicide is considered one of such repercussions. Currently, suicide attempts among juveniles are remarkably frequent. In childhood and early adolescence, suicide is a rare phenomenon. However, the number of suicides increases significantly at the age from 15 to 19 years old (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p.338). Girls are more predisposed to a suicide attempt than boys, but in the number of deaths, boys exceed by three times (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p.339). Depression can also lead to enclosure from other people. When a juvenile enters an unfamiliar environment, he or she often encloses from the staff and specialists (Hess & Orthmann, 2010, p.339). As a result, it can lead to mental instability, phobias, and hysterics.

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The core value of responsible stewardship has a direct relation to the topic discussed. It is significant that the Creator has provided people with different resources that can be used for the benefit of society. That is why Responsible Stewardship encourages to use and optimize all possible resources given by the Creator to fulfill the goals and missions. It is important for the improvement of the community. Rehabilitation facilities are created for the similar purpose. In these centers, all possible resources are to optimize the society.

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As a result of the analysis of the scientific literature, it is possible to make a conclusion that when placed in rehabilitation facilities, juveniles frequently have psychological issues. In such centers, many adolescents experience different mental problems including anger, depression, and suicidal attempts. It occurs despite the fact that the main tasks of the rehabilitation facility are to correct behavior, decrease social anxiety, modify negative attitudes, form adequate self-esteem, foster socio-cultural norms, and develop cognitive processes in juveniles.

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