Shocking? Perhaps, But How Does It Work?

Deanna L. Wilkinson, Temple University

Don't Fall Down In the Hood is an experiential/educational program for first-time, non-violent gun offenders who have been adjudicated delinquent by Philadelphia Family Court. Besides attempting to teach the juvenile life skills and conflict resolution to prevent future violence, the program also seeks to teach the individual accountability and apathy through the Trends Seminar. The Trends program aims to shock the juveniles through field trips to different settings: morgue, cemetery, rehabilitation hospital, and halfway house. Even though the literature shows that shock programs generally do not work (Petrosino, Turpin-Petrosino, and Finchkenauer, 2000; Finchkenauer, 1982), the visionaries of this program are convinced of the strategies utility and effectiveness. Through participant observation and in-depth interviewing, researchers will explore the effects of the experiences on approximately 15 juvenile offenders over a six-month period (Lofland & Lofland, 1995). The study will examine the issues from the viewpont of both the staff and the participants. Although this study will not assess the long-term impact of the Trends Seminar, it will give a glimpse of how the youths feel when confronted with the potential consequences of violent behavior as part of the intensive probation program.

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Updated 05/20/2006