Discipline Alternatives to Punishment.

Essay by chickadee20alUniversity, Master'sA+, October 2003

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"Discipline Alternatives to Punishment"


Discipline alternatives are the positive methods of procedure or practices which child and youth workers use to control or correct inappropriate behavior. There is sufficient evidence to indicate that punishment, one form of discipline, is not an effective technique to use with troubled youth (Krueger, 102). Punishment may provide immediate control in some situations, but over time, it usually leads to more severe behavior patterns than the ones the user was trying to correct. In other words, punishment reinforces poor self-images, and this often leads to more self-destructive behavior. Discipline alternatives, on the other hand, can be effective if used as part of an overall positive approach or treatment plan. Effective discipline alternatives improve children's self-images, and lead to more self-fulfilling behavior (Pearce, 1).

Significance of Issue

More than 125,000 of America's youth were in custody in nearly 3,500 public and private juvenile correctional facilities across the nation (Snyder).

The majority of youth enter correctional facilities with a broad range of intense educational, mental health, medical, and social needs. Large numbers of incarcerated juveniles are marginally literate or illiterate and have experienced school failure and retention (Center on Crime, Communities, and Culture, 24). These youth are also disproportionately male, poor, minority, and have significant learning and/or behavioral problems that entitle them to special education and related services. Because education is critical to rehabilitation for troubled youth, it is considered the "foundation for programming in most juvenile institutions". Helping youth acquire educational skills is also one of the most effective approaches to the prevention of delinquency and the reduction of recurring crime. Literacy skills are essential to meet the demands of a complex, high-tech world in school and at work. Higher levels of literacy are associated with lower rates of juvenile delinquency, re-arrest, and crime...