Incarceration and Transitions to Adulthood among Urban Youth

Paper Type: 
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  2016 Words
Date:  2021-03-26

Falling back is a highlight of the lives of young individual observed by a scholar with the intent of comprehending whether the systems of change used are capable of impacting change. These systems are assessed for shortcomings but from a cultural and circumstantial perspective and hence unravel some aspects of change that have not been explored in prior times. The author references real life cases and reveals what falling back refers to in the context of the writing. It is transparent that falling back addresses two parallel perspectives whereby a drug user ad seller is rehabilitated and manages to blend back into the society and the other perspective considers cases where the individual faces varying pressures and embrace their old habits of drug peddling. The author reveals certain themes that are quite common in the assessment of such cases including the role the police play, the motivation of the individuals, the nature of the prisons and juvenile centers, affiliate social theories among other themes. This essay seeks to explore the themes presented in falling back highlighting their existence and the conditions for existence.

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The criminal thinking errors framework comes off clearly in writing as the author expresses the strategies deployed by the Mountain Ridge Academy which is the choice center of study. This framework regards the mentality that the counselors have at the center which makes the assumption that once the thoughts of the detainees are altered, their mannerisms will automatically change for the better. The Mountain Ridge Academy has the intent of altering the behavior of the young people brought into their facility, and hence they use this strategy as their core practice. The behaviors of the detainees are observed carefully, and if they managed to observe the core policies of the institution, they are deemed ready to be released back into the community. The detainees are presented with the message that they have no option but to improve their behavior but are however informed that the success of that situation happening is very low (p.39). This is used to serve as motivation to nudge them into making attempts to prove their counselor to be wrong and to prove themselves worthy of being released back into the society.

The broken window framework also works as a theory that has been referenced in the case study, but it is used as a means to tackle crime through catching the perpetrators. This framework is employed to elevate the quality of life in the Philadelphia area which has been proved as a means of discouraging other individuals from participating in crime especially the young ones between 15 and 18 who are the target group. The framework has been proved useful in other areas like New York and hence the placement of such a tactic in Philadelphia was not experimental but rather strategic (p.19).

The addiction model is also employed in the Philadelphia state to make attempts to improve the state of detainees. However, it is described as a failure based on the fact that it does not make the distinction between the sellers of drugs and the actual addicts. Both cliques are necessitated to go through a series of reform steps notwithstanding their condition until the counselors feel satisfactory that the procedure is a success. The sellers often feel like it is a bother to them and hence go through the treatment without making any deliberate reforms and this could be a justification for the high rates of fallbacks in the community (p.60).


Falling back reveals that most individuals have something that spurs them to indulge in the sale of drugs and also indulge in activities that are capable of changing their lives and keeping them away from crime. Finances have been referenced as the sole motivation that pulls the young people into drug sale and uses, but it turns out that there are other motivational factors that enhance the success of this hustle. For one, the pride affiliated with indulgence in crime is a great contributive factor that gets most of the young people in the juvenile centers as they feel the need to be seen as strong and in control (p.14). When the culture of these individuals is taken away from them based on their stay in the institution, they will strive to make adjustments to get out of the center and make themselves seem as if they have the ability to impact good in the society (p.14). This pride also makes them stay longer at the Mountain Ridge Academy as they indulge in foul behavior like fighting which makes the counselors believe that they are still capable of violence related activity (p.57).

In terms of making reforms, one of the greatest motivation for the individuals being sent back into the society is their ability to attain their masculine identity and provide for their families as well as makeup for the good times that they have missed while in the reform centers. Most fathers are compelled by the desire to get a good job and impress their children and the mother of their children and give them a better life. They struggle to get a good job that can sustain them and one that is capable of sailing them through the hard times. However, in some cases, this comes off as a chance to go back to easy money from the sale of drugs (p.12). For one subject, Malik, his core motivation was his son who he hoped to make up for missing his milestones like starting to walk and first birthday (p.32).


The police come off as individuals who are capable of not only improving the lives of the detainees through keeping them in check but are also seen as the agents who push the young people into the detention centers. In Kensington, the police have propagated a heightened amount of violence through their control of the neighborhood and their extended unnecessary attention to the area (p.16). The police are seen taking extra patrol rounds in the Philadelphia neighborhood such that even when individuals feel like their neighborhood is safe, they are threatened by the gunshots at night and the police helicopters (p.21). The young people integrated back in the society are wary of spending time outside their home as even a walk to the train station can earn them the shakedown of the police. The police provoke the individuals to see if they will be nudged to indulge in violent behavior earning them a ticket back to the academy or even prison (p.27).


The Philadelphia area has various areas of detention some of which have great conditions like the Mountain Ridge Academy which is not cramped and uses high-end facilities as motivation for a change to the young individuals. There are detention centers in the city that are geared at hosting the young individuals before attending their court hearings and also prior to getting a bed in a reform institution (p.22). The centers of reform can hardly be considered as prisons based on the fact they have good facilities and are mainly run by private institutions and individuals, notwithstanding the escalated level of stringency in the center (p.37).

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often blamed as the highest motivator and influence to crime and this if often the biggest contributor to individuals resuming into criminal activities, in fact, when the individuals are young they are ushered into the society and taught peddling as a social activity of wadding through the pressure (p.23). In some instances, the code of the African American groups and the Latino groups dictates that when something is happening, every member of the unit has to show up and indulge without asking questions even when it is violence based (p.29). For the individuals to be integrated back in the community and stay devoid of criminal acts or counter a fall back into the sale of drugs, they are nudged to shift locations and form fresh social networks (p.13). James, who was also one of the study victims that fell back into the drug use system experienced a different form of pressure which came from his mother who was selling drugs. The idea of making reforms was difficult for James, and his mother made it more difficult through availing of substances to him once in a while which found him using drugs again (p.143)


Philadelphia is described to be a host to several violent actions and hence the reformists have to undergo transitions like moving from where they used to reside prior to the institutionalization and settle in good neighborhoods (p.20). Philadelphia has stayed at the peak of criminal activities compared to neighboring states like New York and Boston, and it has been stamped by violent criminal activities since the beginning of 2000. The author notes that more often, the individuals with a heightened quota of determination to make reforms shift to areas that are less racially defined and areas that are not marked by violence (p.20). The violent actions are not concealed in Philadelphia hence imposing trauma to the victims like the author takes note of one case where a Warren, had to see his parent being gunned down for failure to remit funds for services he had been offered (p.30). The presence of violence is depicted as motivation for the individuals to slip back into their crime and violent nature as most of them as met with the awakening that the community has not changed despite the time they were away in the reform center being quite extensive. The crime in the neighborhood counters the hope that the individuals can leave a violence-free life, and hence they find themselves getting back with their former peers and indulging in criminal acts (p.73).


The detainees are exposed to some escalated amount of fear in the center as they are sometimes pushed to face repercussions for motives that do not exist. For one case, Malik, one of the study victims was accused of wanting to kill or cause harm to a fellow detainee even though he did not hold the intent. Malik hence stayed in fear that one of the peers had said such a thing to the counselors and hence was actually capable of causing harm to Malik as he felt threatened (p.59). Individuals in the poor neighborhoods are exposed to situations where they cannot evade crime based on the ascending pressure of peers as well as the fear of being nabbed for affiliating themselves with the police (p.81).


The acceptance levels of the victims are quite high as they have the morale to prove their counselors wrong as well as feel better in the society and hence they chose to admit having being involved in the crime they are charged for. It extends to even times when the individuals have not indulged in crime but still opt to take responsibility of the accusation just to get done with the treatment process (p.61). There is an escalated level of acceptance of the values dispensed at Mountain Ridge however beyond that point the values are cast aside, and the young individuals slip back into their former behavior (p.63). The individuals being sent back to the society are also faced with the idea of accepting that life will not be as easy as it was back in the reform center and this is difficult for some of them. One of the study patients, Sincere, was seen to have endured major losses and hence was highly vulnerable to drug abuse which he heavily indulged in, the center taught him how to get by and cope with the trauma of the losses he had encountered. He hoped he would easily get by in the city. However, he got the revelation that he needed more than desire to survive the hard times in the city. This factor would have pushed him to get back to his lonely and angry position and resume indulgence in drug use and sale (p.110)


Firstly, money comes off as a motivation for the young individuals to be integrated back into the society as the individuals on the outside have high expectations for their providence and he...

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Incarceration and Transitions to Adulthood among Urban Youth. (2021, Mar 26). Retrieved from

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