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Resiliency in Adolescent Males in a Correctional Facility

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Education Volume: 59 Issue: 2 Dated: June 2008 Pages: 94-105
Sheryl Feinstein; Jyl Baartman; Michelle Buboltz; Kim Sonnichsen; Rebekka Solomon
Date Published
June 2008
12 pages
This study identified positive personal and environmental factors in the lives of 18 juvenile boys living in a low-security correctional facility, in order to facilitate the design of programs that foster resilience (the ability to cope with adverse circumstances and direct their lives toward a positive future).
The study identified individual and environmental factors related to resilience. Each of the boys had features of a positive self-concept and future expectations. Although few of the boys perceived themselves as excelling in traditional academic expectations, they were all able to identify areas in which they excelled. The older boys were beginning to envision and plan for future careers, and all wanted to earn a high school diploma. Factors in their environments that promoted resilience were a structured, consistent daily schedule; emotional support from adult facilitators and role models; and a behavioral plan based on positive support, anger management classes, and counseling designed to support the boys' abilities to solve problems and improve social skills. Based on the findings of this study, the authors recommend that resiliency-building programs be of sufficient duration for bonding with the adults in the program. Also, research-based instructional strategies must be used in preparing the boys for jobs while building on a positive self-concept. Goal-setting, particularly career education must be embedded in the program. Further, empathy and other social skills must be promoted, and teachers and line staff should meet regularly to confer on how best to serve the students. The participating students were ages 12-18 and enrolled in grades 7-12. All of the boys were interviewed one time for approximately 45 minutes. The interviews included specific questions about their personal attributes/abilities and their environment that could serve as resources for resiliency. 2 tables and 5 references