My research question is how do decisions to refer children to TYC facilities and the state of their premises, staffing and operating practices contribute to the abuse of children there and consequently the failure to socialize and control these children in accordance with the norms of mainstream American society.I will analyze the problem through the lens of sociological theories. While I believe Labeling Theory, Anomie-Strain Theory, Conflict Theory all help to explain contributing factors, I would argue that Social Learning Theory and Social Control Theory are the most salient in analyzing the failures of the TYC.Most people would assume that one of the main purposes of a correction system is in fact to correct behavior so that it is brought in line with the accepted norms and laws of mainstream society by a process of social learning or socialization. I would argue that the TYC program does exactly the opposite. By allowing the children to be subject to unjustified physical, sexual and emotional abuse it is teaching them implicitly that the real world is a jungle and they must be the aggressor in order to avoid being the victim even if lip service is paid to tolerance and respect for others.Social control is maintained not by the sensible, impartial application of reasonable rules necessary to protect the rights of everyone and to permit the smooth operation of the facility, but by trusted staff offering treats, conveying threats or imposing arbitrary unjustified penalties to those selected in order to coerce compliance with their inappropriate demands such as sexual gratification.At least half of the 2700 youths sent to TYC facilities in 2006 had a background of nonviolent crimes mostly burglary, theft, drug offences and unlawful use of a motor vehicle ( Becka and Jones 2007) Even some of the violent ones were minor such as 11% for simple assault. I would argue that whether for adults or children incarceration should be primarily for serious violent crimes to protect society at large.
Decisions to Refer Children to TYC Contribute to the Abuse of Children There