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Resocialization Essay

Resocialization is the process of acquiring a new set of norms, values, attitudes, and behaviors. Schaefer defines resocialization as “the process of discarding former behavior patterns and accepting new ones as part of a transition in one’s life.” Resocialization occurs throughout the lifetime of an individual (1992: 113).

Resocialization is said to occur in total institutions. This term was coined by Erving Goffman in 1961. It was designed to describe a society, which is generally isolated from the rest of society but is sufficient enough to provide for all the needs of its members. These total institutions are known to have the ability to resocialize people whether it is voluntarily or involuntarily. (Schaefer & Lamm, 1992: 113).

Goffman lists four characteristics of such institutions:

1. All aspects of life are conducted in the same location and managed under the same single authority;

2. The activities of each individual can be viewed transparently by other members, likewise, the activities of all members are the same;

3. Explicit formal rules on schedules and activities are tightly followed; and,

4. There exists a plan or program in line with the goals of the organization .

This paper aims to present the process of resocialization used by the Texas Youth Commission Rehabilitation as well as define the social factors affecting resocialization.

The Texas Youth Commission Rehabilitation Model is a phase-progressive system. Desire and knowledge required to change their behavior in order for the change process to be effective. (TYC, 1995)

The process itself requires the members to master each of the phases: Social, learning how to interact appropriately with others; cognitive, learning to change their modes of negative type thoughts; and behavioral, learning to act on the newly acquired set of norms.

The resocialization program requires the student to detail his life story, identify thinking errors, learn the components of the offense cycle, understand choices that led him to commit the criminal act(s), develop victim empathy and develop appropriate values (TYC 1995).

The primary agents of socialization are people and/or groups of people that have some or great influence on a person’s self-concepts, emotions, attitudes and behavior. Those are same factors that affect resocialization. In order for a resocialization effort to be effective, a great deal depends upon the level of acceptance of the individual involved. As mentioned in the program of TYC, it is important for the individual to reevaluate and assess him or her self as well as the need for rehabilitation. One has to recognize the need for resocialization on order for the process to be effective.


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