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Racial Bias of Rehabilitation, Article Review Example

Pages: 3

Words: 809

Article Review

Abstract

The offered paper is aimed at review of an article on the topic of juvenile training schools. The chosen article is “Aberrant Sexualities and Racialised Masculinisation: Race, Gender and the Criminalisation of African American Girls at the Illinois Training School for Girls at Geneva, 1893-1945” by Tera Agyepong. The main points of the article in terms of racial bias in the treatment of African American girls are analysed.

Key words: racism, training school, inequality, gender, rehabilitation system.

Racial Bias of Rehabilitation

In the history of human development, various aspects that we take today for granted had to go numerous stages of evolution. The contemporary perception of juvenile delinquents as children who need help and support in their transformation and improvement of the world perception also had to go a long way from the initially punitive measures. In this regard, even in the last century, the practice of training schools for juveniles has gone a long way of improvement and modification. The best way to understand how things changed is to look back and realise which problems training schools for juveniles of different races and gender had and how the inmates were treated there. In this regard, the article “Aberrant Sexualities and Racialised Masculinisation: Race, Gender and the Criminalisation of African American Girls at the Illinois Training School for Girls at Geneva, 1893-1945” by Tera Agyepong is analysed.

In terms of the main points, the article argues that African American girls who were sent to Illinois training school were treated on the basis of racial bias. At some point, up to sixty girls were kept in a single dorm especially devoted to African American girls (Agyepong, 2013). Thus, they were isolated from the white girls in order not to spread their negative influence on them. Although the primary reason African American girls were sent to this school was that they were rape victims or forced to take part in criminal activity, they were treated as the evil seed and the cause of problems they were involved in (Agyepong, 2013). In this regard, the article argues that the source of African American female delinquency was considered to be due to their racial inborn deficiencies. In this context, the teachers of this school treated these girls as more masculine and grave offenders, creating an image of aggressive, sinful female seducers who were causing and creating nothing but trouble (Agyepong, 2013).

The article concludes that the dominance of an idea that the initial juvenile training schools and system of rehabilitation were driven by the ideal of understanding and reformation was far from reality. Thus, various historical narratives excluded racial context of inmates’ treatment and perception (Rosenheim, 2002). The example outlined in the article demonstrates that not all categories of the American juveniles were equally exposed to benefits of rehabilitation system. In this regard, it is argued that although African American girls were taken into Illinois training school, it does not mean that they could benefit from the rehabilitation programme since they were not treated according to the objectives of rehabilitation system (Agyepong, 2013).

In terms of evaluation of this article, it is important because it demonstrates how unequal and harmful the early system of rehabilitation was and how it was making more damage to vulnerable female juveniles instead of rehabilitating them. In this regard, the article is crucial in understanding how rehabilitation systems and practices of people that are involved in it are depended on the main trends in society and how they change with time. It also helps to understand that the dominant scholar narrative on the subject is not exhaustive, and there are still aspects to be covered in further research of the subject. Thus, the article provides a different perspective unlike most of the works in this field. Therefore, the article is worth reading for everyone in order to understand another perspective of rehabilitation system on its early stages.

In terms of structural organisation, the article is well organised and easy to understand. First the overall topic is introduced and then ach aspect is explained in details, followed by concise conclusions. Although some language might be specific, it is often explained and does not limit one’s understanding of the narrative. From the personal perspective, I think that the article is incredibly helpful in understanding not only the inequality and racial bias in early rehabilitation system but also essential to understanding how far racism can go and how damaging it was for vulnerable underage girls exposed to it. I think this article is a must for everyone to read and to remember how important human rights and equality are especially for the vulnerable groups of the young juveniles.

References

Agyepong, Tera (2013).  Aberrant Sexualities and Racialised Masculinisation: Race, Gender and the Criminalisation of African American Girls at the Illinois Training School for Girls at Geneva, 1893-1945. Gender& History, 25(2), 270-293.

Rosenheim, M.K. (2002). A Century of Juvenile Justice. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

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