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PARISH VOLUNTEER EXPERIMENT

NCJ Number
40452
Journal
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF CRIMINOLOGY AND CORRECTIONS Volume: 19 Issue: 1, Dated: (JANUARY 1977) Pages: 105-117
Author(s)
P BASTIEN; L BLAIN-LAMBERT; M C KIELY; L LAMBERT; N MAILLOW
Date Published
1977
Annotation
DESCRIPTION OF AN EXPERIMENT IN WHICH MEMBERS OF A CANADIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH IN THE CITY OF MONTREAL FORMED A VOLUNTEER GROUP DESIGNED TO SUPPORT THE REINTEGRATION OF DELINQUENTS BY COMMUNITY ACCEPTANCE.
Abstract
A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE PROCESS BY WHICH YOUTHS MAY BECOME DELINQUENT IS FIRST PRESENTED. IT IS NOTED THAT DELINQUENCY OFTEN HAS ITS ROOTS IN A DISSOCIALIZATION PROCESS IN WHICH THE YOUTH IS INCREASINGLY ALIENATED FROM THE COMMUNITY AND STIGMATIZED FOR HIS ACTIONS. THIS PROCESS MAY BE REVERSED IN THE JUVENILE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION BY THE ESTABLISHMENT OF MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN DELINQUENTS AND CORRECTIONAL PERSONNEL. IT IS IMPORTANT, HOWEVER, THAT THIS REHABILITATIVE PROCESS ALSO BE CONTINUED IN THE COMMUNITY. THIS PROJECT WAS UNDERTAKEN TO DETERMINE IF COMMUNITY MEMBERS ARE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE REHABILITATION OF THEIR DELINQUENT YOUTH AND TO UNDERSTAND THE KINDS OF POSITIVE INFLUENCES THEY MAY EXERT ON DELINQUENTS. A SMALL, CLOSE-KNIT ROMAN CATHOLIC PARISH WAS CHOSEN AS THE INITIAL EXPERIMENTAL COMMUNITY BECAUSE OF ITS HIGH LEVEL OF COMMUNITY IDENTIFICATION, UNIFORMITY OF VALUES, AND STRONG COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS. THE PARISH PRIEST WAS FIRST CONTACTED; HE IN TURN ENCOURAGED OTHER COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS. THREE MONTHS AFTER THE INITIAL CONTACT WITH THE PARISH PRIEST, AN ESTABLISHED GROUP OF VOLUNTEERS WAS FORMED. THEIR ACTIVITIES CONSISTED OF WEEKLY MEETINGS TO DISCUSS PROBLEMS OF DEALING WITH THE DELINQUENT; A VISIT TO A JUVENILE CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION; AND ESTABLISHMENT OF PRELIMINARY CONTACTS WITH OTHER CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS. ALTHOUGH THE GROUP HAS EXPERIENCED SOME RESISTANCE TO ACTUAL INVOLVEMENT WITH DELINQUENT YOUTHS, THE AUTHORS NOTE THAT THE VOLUNTEERS' ATTITUDES HAVE UNDERGONE DRAMATIC CHANGES, MOVING FROM FEAR AND DISTRUST TO UNDERSTANDING AND ACCEPTANCE. --IN FRENCH...DMC