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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: The Role of Residential Care Institutions for Children in Conflict with the Law in Jordan: Workers’ and Children’s Experiences
Author(s): Alnajdawi, Ann
Supervisor(s): Malloch, Margaret
Hamilton-Smith, Niall
Keywords: Residential Care Institutions
Children in Conflict with the Law
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: In Jordan, residential care institutions (RCIs) for children in conflict with the law are identified as various specialised state institutions which constitute a state formal response to youth crime, and specialise in taking care of children. This thesis examines the objectives of RCIs’ programmes for children in conflict with the law in Jordan, as they attempt to reduce offending by convicted children, and whether these objectives meet children’s needs, according to the view and experiences of children themselves (12-17 years). This study is based on qualitative methods, using data from individual and focus group interviews with institutional staff, and participant observation and individual interviews with children. Exploring the divergent claims made within childhood and youth crime theoretical perspectives, this thesis develops a nuanced understanding of institutions’ crime-reduction programmes by drawing upon key theoretical concepts from these frameworks: children as ‘socially becoming’ and ‘social beings’. RCIs provide four rehabilitative programmes to help reduce children’s problematic and offending behaviour; namely, a family guidance programme (FGP), a poverty reduction programme (PRP), an educational programme (EP) and a child behaviour modification programme (CBMP). To a large extent, these programmes tended to provide polices of crime prevention which focus on re-socialising children according to the normative and cultural system of behaviour in which children were generally perceived as incompetent social actors, and where their best interest was not always acknowledged. To a large extent, children’s own perspectives and experiences of institutional rehabilitative programmes revealed the institutional failure to treat their familial, economical, educational and behavioural problems. Overall, children thought such failure happened either because the institutional aims were not actually implemented, or because the methods of delivering the institutional programmes per se were ineffective. This finding reflects a contradictory picture between the RCIs’ objectives and their actual practices, reflecting the institutional departure from a set of theoretical ideas regarding the prevention of youth crime. Focus group discussion with key informant staff referred to a variety of obstacles that contribute to their inability to address children’s wider needs within the existing institutional aims. Parental refusal to participate in child abuse and supervisory neglect interventional sessions, short-term intervention for chronically abused children and institutional reliance on talking methods in promoting parental supervision over children’s behaviour were all issues hindering effective institutional intervention within the familial environment. The institutional failure to meet children’s educational and career training needs occurred because these programmes are scheduled at the same time. The seriousness of some children’s crimes and the inability of some families to accompany their children to school were other issues preventing children from attending school. The lack of staff motivation, along with staff’s interrelated roles, prevented child monitoring staff from fully carrying out the intended intervention of modifying children’s negative behaviours. Ultimately, the findings from this study indicate the inconsistency between RCIs’ principles of rehabilitating children in conflict with the law and their actual practices, including the lack of policies in place to meet the institutional objectives. This in turn meant that RCIs do not actually operate to rehabilitate children in order to reduce reoffending, but are largely punitive and operate to criminalise children and separate them from society.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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