Juvenile Offender Treatment Needs to Include Parents and Restorative Justice

I am so pleased that with our economic concerns, we still have men and women in government who are trying to provide services for those without a voice–yes, I’m saying kids do not have a voice.  Anytime we can try to put forth our voices for those who have little voice, kids being only one segment of the voiceless, we are doing something to build community.  Our community.  From our local community to our world’s community.

So I wrote another letter.  This time to a House Representative in Washington State.  It regards House Bill 2732.  Here’s the letter:

The Washington State Capitol. Taken from The J...

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Dear Rep. _____,
Thank you for continuing to provide a voice for these adolescents.  After reading House Bill 2732, I would like to note that I did not find any reference to these adolescents having treatment that involved their parents or family.  Nor did I see any reference to “restorative justice.”

These two aspects of an adolescent’s treatment are primary (essentially the relationship with parents is at the core) to the “healing” of the adolescent; and, to try to prevent further “injury” to society and to the adolescent.

Please consider mandating programs that understand the inherent necessity for involving parents in any adolescent program; with a further concern for restorative justice for the victims.

Sincerely,

Gabriël Metsu - Man Writing a Letter - WGA15103

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I believe that while the traditional forms of “anger management” and “alcohol and drug education” may have to bring awareness to the adolescent, the primary reason that the adolescent has demonstrated poor behaviors and is now being “incarcerated” into a youth camp or institution has to due to the adolescent’s RELATIONSHIP with his or her parents.  It is crucial that all interventions acknowledge the need for each adolescent to address and help resolve “issues” with the primary relationship between parent and child.

And to help decrease continued victimization of others, everyone needs to help the adolescent engage in a restorative justice program– recognizing that victims are often individuals that are never brought to the attention of others.

Prevention to decrease adolescent crime and substance abuse?  Recognizing the need for early and sustained parent-child positive relationships.  And if that relationship is fractured or wounded, doing everything possible to heal and restore a healthy parent-child communication and understanding.

Be gentle with yourself and your children.  Hugs are good.

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