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TV or Not TV? The Impact of the Removal of Television on Assaultive Behavior in a Juvenile Detention Center

NCJ Number
Journal for Juvenile Justice and Detention Services Volume: 16 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2001 Pages: 1-17
Jeffry A. Will; Charles E. Owens; Henry Camp
Date Published
17 pages
This study examined the effect of television upon assaultive behavior of adolescent offenders in a juvenile detention center.
Data for this study were collected from monthly logs for the Duval County Regional Juvenile Detention Center in Florida. The study examined disciplinary behavior of juveniles in the detention center before and after removal of television sets, and implementation of a structured program. Corrections staff considered television viewing a positive feature; it functioned as a form of entertainment and was used as a behavioral management technique. The staff acknowledged, however, that televisions also led to problems. Removal of televisions and implementation of a structured program significantly decreased the frequency of resident-on-resident assaultive behavior. When televisions were removed, it was necessary for staff members to interact more with residents. Because staff were made responsible for providing programs and forced to interact with the youth, they began to act as facilitators, guides, and directors. The study suggests that increased personal interaction between concerned staff and residents and pursuit of meaningful activities by incarcerated youths can replace the impersonal, and frequently negative, imagery of television with positive images and opportunities. Tables, figures, references