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Presentation on theme: "8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD1 THE PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF THE STRUCTURE OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM ON OUR YOUTH A MINI-DRAMA."— Presentation transcript:


2 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD2 The Assumption of Equality of Mental Capacity and the Myth of Individual Responsibility Most people tend to assume that others have the same capacity that they do and the differences in attainment are a result of differences in will power. Most people assume that everyone is equally capable of being rational and bad choices are the result of an evil or weak will. Most people assume that people should be able to change simply by telling them to change and if that doesn’t work, then using a threat or bribe should make them change, and if that doesn’t work, then they just ‘want’ to be bad.

3 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD3 Two implicit philosophies of the nature of man lead to vastly different ways of relating to each other and themselves and lead to two vastly different ways of structuring missions, purposes, policies, and procedures of our cornerstone institutions such as the educational and justice systems. Vacuum A. RATIONAL MAN B. NATURAL MAN LIFE HISTORY INFLUENCES ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCESINFLUENCES A. People make the rational man assumption about themselves and others. The essence of this assumption is that human acts are a-historical and are formed in a virtual vacuum, devoid of outside social-environmental influences and that all sources of action are immediate conscious intentions. All calculations for decisions are based on immediate perceptions and evaluations. Evil acts, therefore, must have their source in a-historical, conscious intentions devoid of external influence. B. Natural man does not act in a vacuum. The acts of natural man have their source in a life history and in a complex configuration of environmental forces or structural. Conscious decisions have their source in internal and external factors that are not present to conscious awareness and in many instances their source is not accessible to conscious awareness. This lack of conscious awareness of sources includes both the life history factors and environmental factors. The nature of these two factors are actually very difficult to conceptualize in spite of their tremendous significance.

4 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD4 Justice and the Myth of Individual Responsibility and Rational Man Is HUMAN WILL Enacted Rationally in a Vacuum Without a History or Without Environmental Pressures? The great dilemma for the judiciary is how do we treat all defendants? –A. Do all defendants and all people make life’s choices equally from an ideal point of pure Platonic rationality? –B. Or, are they shaped by different social histories and environments that determine their life’s choices? Pro- A. position: –Position A. makes judgment and punishment seem reasonable and provides a rationale for accountability and control. –Position B. provides exculpatory reasons, or excuses, turning judgment and punishment into ‘blaming the victim’. Pro -B. position: –Taking position A. makes the justice system seem scientifically anachronistic and unreasonable and creates a sense of alienation from a callous, inhumane system. –Taking position B. provides a rationale for corrective action with the defendant and preventive action with the defendant’s environmental conditions.

5 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD5 THE STRUCTURE OF JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND ITS EFFECTS The Mentality of the Judiciary and Its Contribution to Teen Violence You’re OK. Go on your merry way and I’ll protect you. Hey you. You’re under arrest and going to juvenile detention. Here! Put on these cuffs. I have to protect society from you because you are a bad kid. Juvenile Offender: Oh my god! I’ll sure be ostracized now. No one will associate with me but that gang now. I’m a criminal. Hey, lets buy some drugs, get high and go cruising. Sounds like fun, let’s do it. Crash!

6 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD6 DETENTION, SELF RE-DEFINITION, AND COVERT DEFIANCE Juvenile Offender: Yea, like hell you are. You’re trying to find something wrong with me so you can put me away and change me. I’ll pretend to cooperate, but I’ll be damned if I will let them get anything on me. Psychologist: We’re going to give you some tests to see how we can help you. PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT Juvenile Offender: These people put me in a cage, watch every move I make. Guard me everywhere I go. Treat me like I’m some kind of serial killer. With my background, everybody at school and back home will see me as a criminal, trash, not to be associated with, a loser. My life is over. My fate is sealed for life. Juvenile Offender: Yes, sir. I’ll do my best, sir. Juvenile Offender DETENTION

7 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD7 The Role of the Juvenile Justice System in Increasing the Juvenile’s Alienation from Self and Society and Widening the Juvenile’s Public-Private Personality Split Prosecutor: Your Honor, he did it with malicious intent and should be punished and placed in a correctional facility. Defense Attorney: Your honor, he was abused as a child and left unsupervised. He was under the influence of negative peers. This is his first offense. I recommend probation, being remanded to his parents, with a recommendation for family counseling. Probation Officer: Your Honor, our investigation found that the parents were unemployed. The father physically abused the the mother and children and was an alcoholic. They said he was a good boy but ran with a bad peer group. He has been failing in school and is not a member of any official school groups. The psychological report said he had family problems, feels alienated, has low self esteem, has a lot of anger and is depressed. Judge: I’ve heard enough, now I’ll make my decision. Juvenile Offender Juvenile Offender: My god. All of these big, important people going through all of this formal stuff and just because of me. I must be really bad. This is a big powerful system and they are all against me. Everybody, society, the authorities all have me pegged as a public enemy.

8 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD8 THE GREAT CONDEMNATION! You! The kid with the tragic life history! You are responsible for you own decisions and behavior. I find you guilty and sentence you to punishment. We’re gonna teach you a lesson. You are a menace to society and we’re gonna make sure you can not harm the rest of us. We’re gonna break your will so you will be terrified of ever doing anything bad again! Juvenile Offender Juvenile Offender: Everybody hates me. I hate myself. I don’t care anymore. I’m nothing. My life is over. Now I hate society, my parents, school, all the goody-goody peers who lord it over me and ridicule me, especially police and the justice system, and even myself.. What difference does it make if I kill myself or everybody else. If everybody thinks I am such a bad criminal, maybe I should really become one and really show them something!

9 8-2002Copyright, Ed Young, PhD9 “THE FINAL GAVEL” The Effects of a Judge’s Autocratic and Condemnatory Attitudes on Ostracized, Rejected Teens Who Have Issues of Extreme Control and Suppressed Rage - Depression: Is the Role of Society’s ‘Ultimate Authority’ that of Stigmatizing and Ostracizing? After Court.> When the ultimate authority condemns youths they become completely alienated and want to kill society, people, the next person that mistreats them, or, they want to kill themselves because there is no place in the world that accepts them.


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