Last Chance in Texas

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Hubner, John. (2005) Last Chance in Texas: The Redemption of Criminal Youth. New York, NY. Random House Inc.

Last Chance in Texas is an eye opening look into the efforts of the juvenile justice system to rehabilitate youth offenders and integrate them back into society. The book chronicles the research of author John Hubner who heard about a facility in Texas that ran an aggressive and one of the most successful, treatment programs in America for violent young offenders. He was particularly curious how a state like Texas, known for its hardcore attitude toward crime, could be a leader in rehabilitating violent and troubled youths. Through a span of over nine months at The Giddings School in Texas, Hubner discovered that making offenders understand their past and how their actions affected others was key to successful rehabilitation.

By observing school’s therapists and students, Hubner learned that the rehabilitation process was an intense self realization program that forced offenders to review and re-live their past experiences that led up to the crimes they committed. The staff at Giddings challenged offenders to step into their past and visualize their crimes before and after they were committed, as well as the impact of those around them. Different techniques were used help the students remember their pasts that most have tried to forget. Forcing them to recall specific details of their lives and the pain they suffered allowed them to address these experiences that ultimately led to them to violent crime. In most cases, the offenders were victims of violence well before they became violent offenders themselves. It was an emotionally painful and time consuming program designed to reprogram them and their behavior by understanding their own feelings and how their actions affected other people.

In the program at The Gidding School there was a specific gang member named Ronnie who was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping of an elderly...
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