Sunday, March 13, 2016

Three Really Bad Nearby Neighborhoods

Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, Verona, Virginia

Rockingham/Harrisonburg Regional Jail

Middle River Regional Jail, Verona, Virginia

Researchers who study violence and other antisocial behaviors find they are far more prevalent in neighborhoods in which the following conditions exist:

1)      Feelings of shame and low self worth. Wherever individuals feel looked down on and disrespected, their anger and resentment tend to increase bad behaviors.

2)      A sense of isolation. Individuals who live in neighborhoods where they feel cut off from mainstream society and unable to participate as equals are more likely to use violent and otherwise unacceptable means of achieving their ends.

3)      Exposure to violent behavior. Individuals with bad role models tend to engage in the violent and criminal behaviors they see demonstrated by adults and other peers around them.

4)      Lack of economic opportunity. When individuals lack access to gainful employment they are more likely to resort to illegal means of meeting their needs.

So what do we do with offenders from such communities? Instead of making them accountable to work hard and do whatever is necessary to make things right with their victims (think restorative justice), we confine even non-violent ones to steel cages surrounded by razor wire and force them to spend months and years in the most crime-ridden and crowded "neighborhoods" imaginable.

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