Files in this item



application/pdf3111552.pdf (19MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:The Uncorrected Self: Identity Negotiation in Juvenile Detention
Author(s):Hellenga, Kate
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Aber, Mark S.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies
Abstract:This study uses ethnographic methods to understand the process of identity negotiation for juvenile detainees in a county detention center in the Midwestern United States. Participants included six male, first-time detainees, ages 12 to 16, their parents, and detention center staff and administrators. Working within a narrative framework that incorporates theories of labeling, reflected appraisals and possible selves, the research seeks to illuminate how labels or appraisals of detainees are communicated in the detention context. Particular attention was paid to how experiences in detention contribute to detainees' perceptions of themselves and their future opportunities, and how race and disproportionate minority confinement affect the identity negotiation process. Data are drawn from fourteen months of participant observation in the detention center, archival research, single interviews with several detention center officers and administrators, and repeated interviews with six first-time detainees during and after their time in detention. The setting's current mix of punitive and rehabilitative approaches suggested ambivalence toward detainees, in which they were viewed as either flawed and dangerous, needy and vulnerable, or both. This negative ambivalence was clearly rooted in the setting's history in the community, and appeared to prevent the facility from successfully engaging with, understanding and helping detained youth. This was particularly true for African American detainees, who were over represented in the center, in comparison to the local population. Detainee interviews and field observations revealed a highly restrictive, jail-like atmosphere in which detainees' self-expression was severely curtailed. The setting appeared to be designed to "erase and replace" youth identities, shaping youth to be silent, polite, even obeisant toward adult authorities. Youth responses to this context ranged from passive acceptance to active resistance. Contextual and personal factors affecting detainees' perception of and response to the setting are explored through detailed analysis of detainees' narratives. The report concludes that the setting's extremely restrictive practices and the role it offers to detainees are ineffective at best and damaging at worst. Specific recommendations are offered for recreating the center with a strengths-based, restorative approach.
Issue Date:2003
Description:344 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3111552
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2003

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics