Summary and Analysis by:
Julius Patterson| July 30, 2017
This article really hits home for me. Judge Steven Teske talks about how Juvenile prisons need to be torn down. This article also focuses on how there’s a difference between being unruly and being a criminal. Jail is not always the answer for these young men and women. Statistics show that youth that have been incarcerated are less likely to complete high school, avoid being arrested again, find employment, and form stable families; making the cycle almost bound to repeat itself, and this is called inter-generational trauma. Also these kids are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
This relates to trauma because we don’t know these kids’ backgrounds. We don’t know the invisible backpack that these kids are carrying around. We don’t know what their ACE score is. The jail system wants to correct what’s wrong with them, but it’s no way to correct it because they don’t know what happened to these kids. In Trauma Informed Care we “change the question,’’ meaning; instead of asking a child, “what’s wrong with you?” we ask, “what happened to you?” This is to find out what the reason is for the child acting out. Its deeper than what we see on the outside, and in Trauma Informed Care, we focus on the unseen, the unspoken things that are deeply rooted into people and start from there. If the people dealing with these youth took a different approach towards the situation, there could possibly be a different outcome. Maybe using Trauma Informed Care should be that different approach.
This article affects me personally, because I’ve actually was incarcerated for 3 and a half years(picture of my mugshot to the left). I’ve done my research, and statistics show that 77 percent of American prisoners are arrested again within 5 years of their release. Based on my personal experience, I’ve seen few steps taken to actually rehabilitate inmates. Most people that I was incarcerated with felt as if they were a smarter criminal since they had been locked up. Many of my fellow inmates had no plan on changing their lives. Some figured that their life was over because of their incarceration, and that there was nothing else for them to engage in except for the “streets”. Sitting in a cell for 23 hours a day did nothing for me, and most other inmates felt the same way. It just gave us more time to think, but didn’t help or encourage us to change the way we thought. No rehabilitation took place, nothing new was learned. Therefore the same action would take place giving us the same outcome.
Although I was not a juvenile, I feel as if jail is not for everybody. Some people just need the right type of care. A lot of jails have removed their therapeutic community programs, which I was apart of. It makes no sense to me. Do they want young people to keep coming back and forth to jail? Is this a business? Or do they actually want people to get help? I think if we keep sending our youth to prison, this will be detrimental to their future. The youth are our future, we need to get them the help they need and not transform them into criminals by sending them off to prison.
So I agree, the juvenile justice system is ineffective; implement Trauma Informed Care, and I think we will see a significant decrease in recidivism. For a plant to grow healthy, we must fertilize the soil, the roots are the most important part of the plant, nothing else in the plant can grow without them. We have to think of our youth as plants and get to the root of the problem and I believe Trauma Informed Care is how you do it.