Research methods and Analysis
Juvenile offenders who have been found to be on substance abuse are often recommended for drug treatment programs in facilities wherein they are housed. The effectiveness of these treatment programs has been the subject of many case studies, though majority of these are published clinical studies. The focus of these studies is more of the effectiveness of the drug used, rather than the response of the subjects to the treatment itself. Whether or not the treatment has any impact on socio-psychological behavior of the subjects is scarcely studied.
A study focusing on socio-psychological effects of these drug treatments on juvenile offenders is a highly desirable topic for research in order to determine whether the effectiveness of treatment can also aid in the social reintegration of the youth offender in the future. A national survey in 1997 showed that fewer than 10% of offenders who had admitted to substance abuse prior to their offense participated in drug treatment programs while in the corrections facility. Their participation in other forms of treatment, such as peer group counseling and drug education, has shown more prevalence. An effective sampling design for this case study therefore is a purposive selection of a facility where at least 10% of the population is undergoing the treatment. Participants in the study will then be randomly selected among the resident juvenile offenders in the facility, and categorized as the control group (those who are undergoing drug treatment) and the independent group (those who are undergoing non-drug treatments).
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An important consideration to be made is using the sampling strategy described above is the socio-psychological state of the juvenile offenders. It can be expected that not all of them will be willing to cooperate and be interviewed for this study. Another issue is in terms of acquiring permissions from the parents or legal guardians of under-aged offenders. Some parents or guardians may not be so keen in allowing their child to become a subject in studies such as this.
The subjects of the study will be observed over the course of the drug treatment being undergone by the control group. Their behavioral responses while undergoing their treatments will be recorded and these will be evaluated vis-a-vis whatever socio-psychological changes they may exhibit. For example, one subject may show a considerable difference in aggression resulting from withdrawal symptoms towards his or her peers in the facility, and another subject may show no behavioral change at all. Still another subject may exhibit apprehensions towards taking drug treatment.
Interviews may be conducted with the subjects, either individually or in groups. There may be two types of interviews: (a) initial interview and (b) concluding interview. The initial interview, to be conducted at the beginning of the case study, is to gather the expectations of the subjects from the treatments, apprehensions if any, and behavioral responses that may be considered when assessing the socio-psychological impacts of the treatment. The concluding interview, on the other hand, is to be conducted at the close of the study. This final interview not only allows the subjects to provide feedback but allows the interviewer to evaluate the subjects’ behavioral responses toward the kinds of treatments they underwent while in the facility.