Some news items from the last two weeks that caught my eye:
Prisons ripe for extremism , experts say (Los Angeles Daily News, 10 Sept):
California’s crowded prisons and jails are ripe for the recruiting of homegrown terrorists and pose a potential threat to the nation’s security, law enforcement officials and other anti-terrorism experts say. […] ‘California and New York are two states looking at this very aggressively,” said Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University and co-author of an upcoming report on the radicalization of the U.S. jail and prison systems. […] Dr. Jeff Victoroff, an expert on the psychology of terrorists and an associate professor of clinical neurology and psychiatry at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, said law enforcement needs to make sure that prison-based programs of Islamic education are not directed by people who support terrorism.
Salon.com (6 Sept) has a commentary on another face of domestic violence:
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer: More and more young people, girls as well as boys, are being charged with domestic violence — not against their partners, but against their parents. In Ohio’s Cuyahoga County, “the number of teens charged with domestic violence has increased by nearly 60 percent in the past decade,” reports the Plain Dealer. “As a result, more kids sit in detention for abusing a household member than for robbery, assault or drug dealing.” In fact, these kids make up 20 percent of those held in detention — even as other violent teen crime appears to be dropping.
There is continuity in behavior of bullies and victims, according to a new study (Rowan University press release, 25 Aug):
A Rowan University study has found that it’s not uncommon for elementary school bullies to continue bullying throughout their high school and college years. And the same apparently goes for people who have been targets of bullies, according to Rowan developmental psychologist Mark Chapell, lead author of the study, which has been accepted for publication by the journal Adolescence.
[…] Chapell, who conducted the first-ever study on college bullying in 2004 with a sample of 1,025 undergraduates, surveyed 119 college undergrads this time and found that of 25 who were bullied in college, 72 percent had been bullied in high school and elementary school. Conversely, of 26 bullies in college, 53.8 percent had been bullies in high school and elementary school. […] “There is a temperament and a certain aggressiveness to bullying,” said Chapell. “There are all kinds of elements that go into it. And we see a lot of bullying in the adult workplace.”
Aggressive students often lack psychological evaluations and effective treatment according to a study highlighted in Medical News Today (28 Aug):
A study in the August issue of The Journal of Pediatrics shows that students displaying violent behaviors often have untreated learning disorders and psychiatric illnesses. Dr. Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance, and colleagues from Harvard University evaluated 33 students in an urban public school district who were referred by school staff due to their aggressive behavior. […The]findings reflect the need for health care professionals, caregivers, and teachers to be able to identify potentially dangerous behavior patterns in aggressive students so that proper evaluations and diagnoses can be provided and subsequent treatments be made accessible.
China’s People’s Daily (29 Aug) reports on a programme to train prison psychologists:
[…I]n 2002, the municipality’s prison bureau launched a programme to provide prison police with psychological training in order to let them provide support to inmates who might need it. […] Now, almost all of China’s more than 700 prisons have qualified psychologists on their staff. […] Psychological support is a new method of correcting inmates’ behaviour. […] Since psychological problems are often deemed responsible for many things like fights, self-injury and even suicide, therapy is also vital for security inside a prison. […]
The therapy has an impact on the police, as well. Cao Guangjian, 33, an officer for 11 years, says that since being trained his methods of communication with inmates have totally altered. “Before, I thought I was superior to them,” said Cao. But after three years of psychology training, he found he was starting to make friends with the inmates. Cao shakes their hands and invites them to sit on the sofa for therapy. “Now we are equal human beings,” he said. “I respect them and truly want to help them. As a result, it becomes easier for inmates to accept my advice and they are more willing to talk to me.”