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ERIC Number: EJ1086286
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1368-2822
EISSN: N/A
Young Offenders' Perspectives on Their Literacy and Communication Skills
Hopkins, Thomas; Clegg, Judy; Stackhouse, Joy
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, v51 n1 p95-109 Jan 2016
Background: Research has revealed that the youth offending population has low language ability when assessed on standardized language measures. However, little is known about the perceptions young offenders (YOs) have of their own literacy ability and their communicative interactions with others. Such knowledge might further our understanding of the possible association between language, literacy and offending behaviour. Aims: This study investigates the perceptions and experiences YOs have of using literacy and communicating with others. It addresses the following questions. How satisfied are YOs with their own literacy and communication skills and how important do YOs perceive these to be? How much do YOs believe they understand others in their communicative interactions? How satisfied are YOs with their communicative interactions with others and how does this influence conflict at home, school, and in the youth justice system? Methods & Procedures: An opportunity sample of 31 YOs on court orders were recruited from a local youth offending service, excluding any who did not have English as a first language or were in receipt of current speech and language therapy provision. Twenty-six qualitative individual semi-structured interviews and two focus group interviews were carried out and analysed using a framework analysis method. Outcomes & Results: Themes revealed participants were dissatisfied with their communication and literacy ability. Other themes identified were difficulty in understanding others, a perceived lack of support and respect gained from others, and a negative impact of communication on self-esteem. The findings suggest that YOs often found themselves in disputes with authority figures, but that they avoided using positive communication to solve such conflicts and also avoided confiding in others. Conclusions & Implications: The findings support the results found from quantitative research on the language abilities of YOs. This emphasizes the value in adopting qualitative methodology to understand the relationship between literacy, communication skills and offending behaviour in YOs. The findings highlight a need for increased language, literacy and communication training, and support for YOs, and for the staff who work alongside them.
Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: cs-journals@wiley.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A