Mentoring for Youth Involved in Juvenile Justice


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Hosted by Mentoring Partnership of Minnesota on Oct. 30, 2012. Featuring Dr. Roger Jarjoura.

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Mentoring for Youth Involved in Juvenile Justice

  1. 1. Mentoring Youth in the Juvenile Justice System October 30, 2012 Mentoring Partnership of MinnesotaCopyright © 2012American Institutes G. Roger Jarjoura, Principal Researcherfor Research.All rights reserved.
  2. 2. Consider the Following Scenario A mentor and mentee are hanging out. The mentee says: “I didn’t feel like going to work yesterday, so I called in and said I was sick.”2
  3. 3. The “Right” Mentor would Respond: That reminds me of a time that I called in sick so that I could go to the beach with my college friends. It was a nice day and we picked up some beer along the way and had a great time!3
  4. 4. The “Right” Mentor would Respond: I understand. If I was only making $7.50 an hour, I would call in sick too if I didn’t feel like working.4
  5. 5. The “Right” Mentor would Respond: You are kidding. That was very irresponsible of you! You will not hold onto that job for very long playing those kinds of games.5
  6. 6. The “Right” Mentor would Respond: What do you think that was like for your boss and the rest of the staff? Have you been at work when someone else called in sick? What was that like? If your boss gets used to not having you around, how do you think this might affect you? Is there some other way you could have handled not wanting to go to work?6
  7. 7. 7
  8. 8. Let’s Consider Mentoring in Context8
  9. 9. Keep in Mind… • Mentoring is about  Investing in relationship  Choices  Modeling behavior • Mentoring is about giving, but we can’t take it personally9
  10. 10. Mentoring • From the research we know that mentoring is an effective intervention for:  Predelinquents  Delinquents  Juvenile offenders returning from incarceration • When it is done correctly, it is a “Best Practice.”10
  11. 11. Mentoring Programs Can inspire and guide people to pursue successful and productive futures, reaching their potential through positive relationships and utilization of community resources11
  12. 12. Mentoring Can be Transformative • If mentors are properly “prepared”, they can influence the youth in meaningful and significant ways • We may not see immediate short-term changes, but long-term personal growth has a lot to do with the adults in their lives12
  13. 13. Start with a big vision for the ultimate outcome— Productively engaged adult citizens13
  14. 14. Don’t aim too low • Imagine the son of your favorite sister has landed in either the juvenile justice system or the foster care system—what would you like to see for him in terms of the kinds of support that could be available? • Should the kids we serve be different in terms of our expectations?14
  15. 15. Employers Would Like… • Communication skills—verbal and written • Honesty/integrity • Teamwork skills • Interpersonal skills • Strong work ethic How can you have influence here?15
  16. 16. If you believe that it takes a village… • At the end of the time that the youth are involved in your program, what do you want to be able to have in place for the youth?16
  17. 17. When the Supportive Adults are Lacking…  Look for ways to introduce the supportive adults in the new environments that youth are entering (such as college or trade schools)  The goal is to increase the likelihood of success for the youth in those new settings  Think about the kinds of support that are available to middle-class youth and how important those are - Then try and substitute your own forms of support and pay attention to how it is working17
  18. 18. How does the Mentor Fit In? • Do you equip your mentors? • Can you set the structure of the program so that the mentors know to seek out resources? • A Key Skill for the Youth: Accessing Resources • Another Key Skill: Asking for Help18
  19. 19. About Those Needs… • Education • Employment • Family Relationships • Financial Management/Literacy • Health/Mental Health • Housing • Transportation • Prosocial Use of Leisure Time • Peer Relationships19
  20. 20. Model for Youth Mentoring (Rhodes, 2002) Youth Engagement Socio-Emotional Mentoring Development Positive Outcomes Identity Development20
  21. 21. Let’s Consider: • What policies/practices related to your program (or in the programs that you support) interfere with OR limit OR (better yet!) enhance the accomplishment of preparing the youth for their long-term success? • What might you do about this?21
  22. 22. Understand adolescent development and how your program fits in to the process22
  23. 23. This Means Focusing on Each: • Competency • Life skills • Positive development—Strengths- based • Interpersonal skills (emotional intelligence) • Accountability • Decision making and problem solving23
  24. 24. Normal Adolescent Development • Impulsivity declines with age • Sensation-seeking declines with age • Future orientation increases with age • As people age, they spend more time thinking before they act • Resistance to peer pressure increases with age24 Based on scholarship of Griffin (2010), Northwestern University Law School
  25. 25. Consider:25 From: Gardner and Steinberg (2005) “Peer Influence on Risk Taking, Risk Preference, and Risky Decision Making in Adolescence and Adulthood: An Experimental Study” Developmental Psychology
  26. 26. When Kids Experience Trauma during Childhood • They experience delays in developmental milestones • Have higher rates of learning disabilities • Experience difficulties with problem solving • Are more impulsive and engage in problem behaviors at higher rates • Struggle with interpersonal relationships and emotional intelligence26
  27. 27. Make Sure • You are preparing your mentors to understand • Give mentors the tools to meet kids where they are at • Is your program developmentally appropriate?27
  28. 28. It is all about Relationships and Contexts (and Time)28
  29. 29. Choices about Dysfunctional spending Problems in Family leisure time School Consider the risk factors Low self- that contribute to the Challenges esteem around work likelihood that the youths are going to be delinquent Low academic Negative achievement Peers Disadvantaged Drugs and neighborhoods Alcohol29
  30. 30. The The relationship relationship The The they have with the kids have relationship relationship money with their they have with they have with families their teachers their free time These can all be reframed The in terms of dysfunctional The relationship relationship they have with they have with relationships work themselves The The The relationship The relationship relationship relationship they have with they have with they have with they have their peers the community learning with drugs and alcohol30
  31. 31. Relationships are Critical • At all levels:  Between the program and the juvenile justice system  Between the program and the greater community  Between the program and the mentors  Between the program and the youth  Between the mentors and the youth31
  32. 32. Most program Challenges can be attributed (and thus, fixed) to under-nurtured or non-existent relationships32
  33. 33. Context is Typically Underestimated • NJDA’s vision statement reads:  The most efficient way to return a juvenile to a healthy, law abiding lifestyle is through healthy relationships with healthy adults in healthy environments.33
  34. 34. Time: A Numbers Game • Think about the number of hours there are in a week • How much of that time will a youth spend in the “company” of a mentor? • How is the remaining time being spent?34
  35. 35. The Mentor-Mentee Relationship is So Critical… Let’s consider what an effective relationship might look like:35
  36. 36. Communication Skills • Expressing self clearly and coherently, both verbally and nonverbally • Listen and learn how the youth feels • Not responding in a hostile, sarcastic, or anxious manner • Observe the youth’s subtle, nonverbal messages in a very careful manner36
  37. 37. Trust • Be non-judgmental • Allow youth to talk about his/her past in his/her own time • Respect the youth’s confidences as long as they do not affect the health and welfare of the youth and others • Relating to the youth and understanding feeling without condescension and emotional involvement • Don’t obsess about the “truth”37
  38. 38. Interpersonal Skills • recognizes and accepts the diversity of others • gives appropriate advice • flexible and adaptable to new situations • able to suggest but not dictate38
  39. 39. Other Interpersonal Skills • prepared for disappointments and setbacks AND • uses disappointments and setbacks to enhance relationship with youth39
  40. 40. Other Interpersonal Skills • aware of the youth’s ability to manipulate • a good sense of humor • patient40
  41. 41. Commitment • Mentor should recognize and accept responsibility for time and personal obligations to the youth • Accept the youth’s right to make suitable or unsuitable (not illegal) decisions • Know the facts about situations before forming any conclusions41
  42. 42. Be Positive • Offer frequent expressions of direct confidence • Be encouraging even when talking about potentially troublesome topics • Offer concrete assistance42
  43. 43. Train Your Mentors to Ask Questions Effectively • Asking specific questions can convince youth that a person is qualified to be a mentor  If the youth wants help with their future, the mentor should ask questions about their plans/desires related to work or school • Open-ended questions are great— behavioral questions are better43
  44. 44. An Example: • Rate yourself as a student on a scale of 1-10. (1 would mean you were a total failure and 10 would mean you were outstanding). Tell me why you rated yourself this way. • What would it take for you to become a 10?44
  45. 45. • How would you describe a good worker? Be specific. • Tell me about the ways you were a good worker at your jobs. Be specific. • In what ways were you not a good worker? Give examples.45
  46. 46. • Tell me about the last three times you had money in your pocket. How much did you have? Where did the money come from? How did you spend the money?46
  47. 47. • Rate your relationship with your mother on a scale of 1-10. 1 means there is no relationship and 10 means the relationship is perfect. Tell me why you rated it like this. Give me some examples. • What would it take to make your relationship with your mother a 10? Be specific.47
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  49. 49. Consider: • What policies/practices related to your program (or in the programs that you support) interfere with OR limit OR (better yet!) enhance the accomplishment of building mentor-mentee relationships? • What might you do about this?49
  50. 50. Find the right mentors (or at least get them right)50
  51. 51. 51
  52. 52. Mentoring Can Be Challenging • youth doesn’t return phone calls • youth doesn’t show up for meetings • youth is rude and hostile towards the mentor • youth doesn’t talk to mentor • youth is sexually promiscuous • youth breaks the law • youth shows up high or intoxicated • mentor doesn’t know what to do with youth • mentor feels overwhelmed by the youth’s problems • mentor doesn’t agree with the youth’s values • mentor is frustrated by lack of impact on youth52
  53. 53. 53
  54. 54. Effective Programs • focus their efforts on tapping into the internal motivation of mentors by  helping them become more competent  assessing the relevance of their work  building their sense of belonging to a worthwhile effort54
  55. 55. Inoculation of Your Mentors55
  56. 56. Things like: • System-involved youth have been let down by adults many times. They are likely to keep the mentors at arms length for some period of time until the mentor “passes the test.” • This is a transient population and the youths may change residences, have their phone numbers disconnected or changed, or may spend very little time at home making it difficult to catch them.56
  57. 57. And…  Many adults have a hard time with the progress that these youth demonstrate—it is often very slow and can involve several missteps and relapses along the way.  The strongest mentor-mentee relationships grow out of crises and conflicts—yet mentors will be inclined to avoid the youth while they are dealing with conflict and crises.  There are many potentially upsetting elements to working with this population. Mentors need to learn to look for support and not look for the way out of the program.57
  58. 58. 58
  59. 59. Expectations • In any crisis—big or small—mentors need to know not only who to call and their phone number, but also that they are expected to call • Without accountability, time together can easily slip into simply “hanging out” • Key issues:  Maintaining contact with mentees  What happens when kids get into trouble or are moved without notice?  Make sure mentors have comprehensive contact information and plans to be in touch!59
  60. 60. Monitor the Progress60
  61. 61. Evidence • Is important on a number of different levels • How can you build the case that what you are doing is working?  Compile “Good Stories” • How can you determine IF what you are doing is working? • Is there evidence that the outcomes are better for the youth? Is it the result of your new strategy?61
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  63. 63. This is about things like… • Are you “impeccable” and thoughtful with your words? • Are you more likely to ask questions or to lecture? • Do youth believe that you LISTEN to them? Are they correct? • What do youth learn by watching your behavior? • Would you say you are “Mentor-like”?63