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Special supervisory homes in Sweden : paper presented September 12:th at the 7:th EUSARF Congress 2002 in Trondheim : Revitalising Residential and Foster Care

Författare:
  • Claes Levin
Publiceringsår: 2006
Språk: Engelska
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Working paper-serien
Volym: 2006
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag
Förlag: Lunds universitet : Socialhögskolan

Sammanfattning

Sweden is the only Scandinavian country that uses closed treatment institutions
based on coercive measures within the child welfare system, on a
large scale, for the education and treatment of young criminal offenders
and drug users. In Sweden there are in 2002 some 30 “homes for specialized
supervision” of varying sizes and degrees of specialization – all run by
a national board of institutional care. The total number of beds is some
650 and, in closed units, 385. My study was carried out during the
1990´s in Råby Youth Home, the oldest correctional institution in Sweden,
started as a House of refuge in 1838. The question guiding my research
was: How are we to understand the paradox that there is widespread
use and acceptance of organizations like reform schools, while they
lack any sign of success in rehabilitating their clients? The empirical material
of the case study consists of observations carried out in one of Råby’s
treatment units, in-depth interviews with the staff and an investigation of
case notes on all youth that were admitted to Råby between 1982 and
1993. Follow-up interviews were made on a representative sample of all
boys and girls that were admitted during the periods of 1985-1987 and
1990-1993. We managed to find and interview 61 out of a possible total
of 95 former residents. We found that almost 80 percent of the young
men and women had committed one or more serious crimes during the
follow-up period, that almost 70 percent had used drugs, other than alcohol,
and some 70 percent of the boys continued with one or more institutional
placements in special supervisory homes or in prison. We also found
that only 30 percent were more or less socially well adjusted at follow up.
The girls were divided 50-50 between the good and bad outcome criteria,
while the boys were divided on a ratio of 20-80.
Incarceration in combination with the loss of freedom and the indeterminate
time of placement were found to be the most fundamental reasons
behind the development of hidden group resistances and adjustment-
strategies among the residents. The official goals, ideologies and
treatment interventions were not experienced as such by the youths –
rather as punishment and confinement. Despite an internationally high
standard of care, i.e. educated and skilled personnel, good economic resources,
high standard of residence, nourishing meals three times a day,
and safe living conditions for the youth, - external and internal processes
seem to produce further criminalisation and drug addiction and difficulties
in rehabilitating the youths to normal life. The reform school as a
treatment organisation seems to be in conflict with itself as a social institution.

Disputation

Nyckelord

  • Social Sciences

Övriga

Published
  • ISSN: 1650-8971

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