School - Possibility or (New) Risk for Young Females in Correctional Institutions

By Boric, Ivana Jeðud; Mirosavljevic, Anja | CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal, January 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

School - Possibility or (New) Risk for Young Females in Correctional Institutions


Boric, Ivana Jeðud, Mirosavljevic, Anja, CEPS Journal : Center for Educational Policy Studies Journal


Introduction

After the primary form of socialization (family), the educational setting is probably one of the most important "areas and instruments" of socialization of children and youth. It is extremely important, and it greatly influences the development of children. Children and youth spend a significant part of their day at school; it is a place where one can learn and play and is a place of both education and care.

The Croatian Ombudsman's Annual Report (2011) stated that the educational rights of children placed in correctional institutions are being violated, especially in regard to their status and treatment in mainstream elementary and high schools. In addition, it is stated that the most common problems that children living in correctional institutions deal with are stigmatization and exclusion due to the fact that schools are not able to adequately respond to the specific needs of children with behavioural problems.

Documents such as the United Nations' Declaration on Human Rights (1948) and the Croatian Constitution (1990) guarantee everyone the right to education. Education is closely related to (un)employment, which is consequently linked to social exclusion. Social exclusion is a rather multidimensional phenomenon that weakens relations between the individual and the community. This weakening can have different effects (e.g. economic, political, sociocultural, spatial, etc.). The more ways in which this relation is affected, the more the individual is vulnerable (Asenjo et al., 2006). This means that social exclusion is more than a lack of money or material goods, because exclusion includes economic, as well as social, cultural, political and other dimensions. The complexity of the concept of social exclusion is also evident through attempts to determine its dimensions. In that sense, different authors (Burchardt et al., 2002; Böhnke, 2001; Gallie & Paugam, 2004; Poggi, 2003; Kunz, 2003; Kronauer, 1998) talk about different dimensions or fields of social exclusion. In the context of this topic, it is important to observe that education and exclusion from the labour market are significant dimensions of the phenomenon of social exclusion. Social exclusion is usually perceived as a vicious circle consisting of three components: unemployment, poverty and social isolation. Various components of social exclusion affect each other, creating a spiral of uncertainty. Job loss leads to the risk of poverty, and living in poverty creates additional difficulties in searching for a job. Individuals are thus caught in the trap of long-term unemployment. At the same time, unemployment and poverty make it difficult to participate in different social activities. Social connections are reduced and the likelihood of social isolation increases. It is important to mention that exclusion from the labour market is one of the central dimensions of social exclusion. Therefore, if one's employment is the precondition for inclusion, then education is a key mechanism of social inclusion. The most important determinant of employability is education. The degree of employability is associated with the possession of qualifications and skills. Educated individuals are more mobile and more easily adapt to new circumstances. Therefore, social exclusion and educational failure are causally related. Education contributes not only to the acquisition of knowledge and skills, but affects the socialization, inclusion and empowerment of the individuals. Education (as with work) is also a mean of personal fulfilment (Sucur et al., 2006).

Since the focus of this paper is the risk of social exclusion of the girls with behavioural problems placed in an institution, due to their educational status and with that associated employment opportunities in the future, we shall briefly examine the field of education as a risk factor. Various studies have demonstrated the presence of specific risk factors related to education to be an important risk for behavioural problems. …

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