Relationship between Staff Responsiveness and Self-Perception of Juvenile Delinquents in Public Rehabilitation Schools in Nairobi County, Kenya
Nduati, Regina Andeso
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One of the measures the Kenya government has taken to rehabilitate and reintegrate child offenders who end up in the juvenile justice system back into the society is to establish rehabilitation schools. These include two reception, rehabilitation and discharge centres; one for boys and another one for girls, and seven rehabilitation schools countrywide. For rehabilitation to take place, the government has staffed these schools with various personnel to facilitate the implementation of the rehabilitation programs. These members of staff interact with the juvenile delinquents whom they rehabilitate. Studies have shown that a person’s self-perception can be changed either positively or negatively through interaction with others. A positive self-perception leads to change in behavior and avoidance of criminal behavior among juveniles. The current study sought to establish if there is relationship between staff responsiveness and juvenile delinquents’ self-perception using Labeling Theory. The target population was the juvenile delinquents in public rehabilitation schools in Nairobi County, Kenya. Correlational research design was used for this study. Stratified random sampling was used to select 217 participants while data was collected using a structured questionnaire and an interview schedule. Descriptive statistics and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. Pearson Correlation Coefficient was used to establish the relationship between staff responsiveness and self-perception of juvenile delinquents while partial correlations were used to determine the relationship while controlling for demographic variables. The study found that a majority (66%) of the juvenile delinquents had a negative self-perception. A majority (67.3%) of the respondents also reported mild responsiveness from the staff. On the relationship between staff responsiveness and self-perception a correlation was found (r =0.274, p-value<0.01) indicating a significant moderate positive relationship between staff responsiveness and juvenile delinquents self-perception. The relationship was still present even after controlling for demographic variables. The study also identified strategies to improve self-perception of the juveniles such as counseling, provision of basic needs and government involvement after discharge of the juvenile delinquents. Based on the findings, it was concluded that promoting positive staff responsiveness may contribute to positive self-perception of juvenile delinquents. The findings may provide empirical evidence useful in devising ways of enhancing the rehabilitation process of juvenile delinquents. The study recommends the need for staff members to acquire skills and competencies that will enable them to be more responsive and enhance the self-perception of juvenile delinquents.