Rehabilitation of Juvenile Offenders

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Rehabilitation of Juvenile Offenders
The troubled youth of today don’t just need to be imprisoned; they need to be rehabilitated so they may become productive members of society when they finish their sentence. Programs like The Beat Within and Inside Out are useful for youth that need to be rehabilitated before being released back into the general population. Unfortunately, these programs for incarcerated youth are being cut because of budget problems. These programs, such as Inside Out, should be kept around because they help the young inmates express themselves and at times even help them come to terms with the violent crimes they commit.

Mark Salzman wrote about his experience teaching a group of incarcerated youths in the Inside out program. His book, called True Notebook, shows how the program was helpful to the juvenile inmates. Before even starting his own class he visited his friend Duane’s class at the juvenile detention center, and when Mark heard what they wrote he was very impressed by the things that they came up with. He even went as far as to say that they were better than the students that he taught in college. Soon after, Mark was persuaded to teach a writing class of his own that met in the library of the detention center on Wednesday and Saturday. Mark did not teach the inmates proper grammar and punctuation, but he showed them how to express themselves through writing by giving them some creative topics.

One student that benefited from the class was Francisco Javier. Francisco wrote two letters to his mother explaining how he feels and appreciates her. In one of his letters he said, “You know what, Mom? When you lecture or counsel me, even though it doesn’t seem like I’m listening, your words stay in my mind. When I go to bed, I reflect on them. I know you think I don’t appreciate everything you’ve done for me, but it’s the opposite.”(96) Even though he never sent either of his letters to his mom, he shared his love and appreciation...
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