By Editorial Team Last updated: Apr 21, 2023
Scenario #1: Raquel
Reason for Presentation:
Raquel is a 16-year-old single mother of two who comes to the community corrections center after being referred to the therapist by the courts. She was convicted of prostitution and simple drug possession. This is her third legal charge as a minor. The first was at age 13 when she was arrested for shoplifting and alcohol possession by a minor. This first arrest resulted in her being seen for a “chemical dependency assessment,” which did not support a substance abuse problem for her. Additionally, she was required to attend 12 weekly sessions with a juvenile probation officer. At the age of 15, she was arrested for vandalism. This charge was informally resolved due to the lack of definitive evidence showing she was directly involved. It should be noted this was a group activity, which resulted in the vandalism. Although she has never been accused of being in a gang, the local law enforcement officers have labeled her as a “gang suspect.”
Raquel has no history of physical, emotional, or sexual trauma. She had an uneventful childhood and was a good student until the seventh grade, when she began a sexual relationship with her boyfriend. She failed the seventh grade and was subsequently placed in “special classes” because she “does not see the point in going to school” as her “life is all messed up so there really is no point to try.” A recent physical examination revealed she was in essentially good health, with the only physical problem being that she has tested positive for HPV.
Raquel lives in the heart of Minneapolis with her aunt, daughter, and son in government-assisted housing. Her mother died when Raquel was one year old and her father is unknown. Raquel’s family has a strong ethnic identity rooted in the family’s Costa Rican lineage. In addition to her aunt and her children, she has several aunts and uncles in the Minneapolis area. Raquel is the only member of her family who has an arrest history.
As stated, Raquel has two children who were fathered by different males. Her daughter is 3 years old and was carried to full term. This child’s father is (presently) a 15-year-old student at a local high school and is in good standing. Her youngest child is 12 months and was fathered by an unknown male. According to Raquel, “the father could be one of about 100 different men.”
Upon entering the office, she advises the therapist she does not wish to participate in any form of treatment. Although she vehemently denies substance abuse, one of the juvenile court officials noted a strong smell of marijuana on her clothing upon intake. Raquel advises the therapist that her only goal is to hang out with her friends, take care of her children, and collect “benefits” because she is a “dud” (her own words).
Scenario #2: Scott
Reason for Presentation:
Scott is presently serving a 15-year state sentence for the conviction of armed robbery, possession of cocaine, and assault on a police officer. When Scott was in the custody of the county jail awaiting trial on these charges, he was found to be in possession of child pornography. He was charged with one felony count of possession of child pornography and received a 12-month sentence for this conviction. Scott has served 11-1/2 years of his sentence and is scheduled to be released on parole in 1-1/2 years. He has been denied parole each time he was eligible because the board did not see “sufficient remorse” for his crimes. Scott has been referred to the therapeutic staff to help him prepare for his release.
Scott is a 47-year-old Caucasian male. He has never been married and has fathered no children per his report. Scott has lived the majority of his life in correctional settings starting when he was placed in juvenile detention centers at the age of 12 through his release at the age of 19. At the age of 20, Scott was sent to prison for 5 years after being convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. He served 18 months of this sentence and was released to the community on parole. Scott was returned to prison after 2 months of release due to refusing to participate in the parole process. He completed this sentence and was subsequently released. Scott remained out of prison for the next 3 to 4 years and was “bouncing from place to place, just getting high, living life, and enjoying.“ He was arrested and convicted of armed robbery, which resulted in a 5-year sentence. Scott was released after 2-1/2 years and then was arrested for the current charges.
Scott reports a long history of substance abuse that started when he was 8 years old. He started drinking alcohol with his older brother and reports “loving it from the first sip.” Scott also reports using a wide variety of drugs and says he “loves being high.” Although he says he understands that drugs have had a detrimental impact on his life and have kept him from reaching any potential, he further cites “being high keeps me alive.” Scott has never attended a drug or alcohol program, although it has been recommended and court ordered in the past.
Upon presentation, Scott tells the therapist he “is a lost cause” and wishes every day he would die. He acknowledges these thoughts of death as being a welcome relief but cites no plans to end his own life and has no reported or documented suicide attempts. Scott advises that he has no friends other than the ones he makes in prison. He is estranged from his entire family and does not wish to be reunited with any of his extended family. If they were reunited, Scott is concerned he would just create difficulties for them.
Finally, Scott tells the therapist that he does not wish to hurt anyone else in the future. He reports significant difficulties with controlling his temper and is concerned he will accidentally kill someone. Scott also reports a “sexual addiction” to pictures of “all sorts of people.” He does not believe this is a major problem because he would never act on his fantasies.
Scenario #3: Jeremy
Reason for Presentation:
Jeremy is 21 years old and is reporting to prison for the first time after being convicted of rape, for which he has received a 7-year sentence. Jeremy’s instant offense stems from a party he attended in college. During the course of the party, Jeremy drank excessive amounts of alcohol and took what he believes to have been LSD. He reports no recollection of the evening after approximately 10 p.m. The following day he was arrested for raping his girlfriend at the party in the basement of the house. In court, the case presented compelling evidence against Jeremy, including DNA samples and tissue damage reports collected during the rape investigation. Jeremy has never denied the charges and insists he was just “out of his mind.”
Jeremy appears for the treatment screening and readily admits that he is guilty of the crime. He reports significant regret. Jeremy was expelled from college due to his conviction. School records demonstrate he was maintaining a 3.8 GPA with a major in education. He was starting his senior year when he was charged and incarcerated. He reports a strong family relationship with his mother, father, and siblings, who reside in his home state (6 hours away). There is no family history of addiction, mental illness, or difficulties with the law. His father and mother are both professionals in his hometown, and they could be described as being in the “upper SES.” Jeremy reports intense feelings of shame due to the negative attention he has brought to his family.
During this intake screening process, Jeremy reports being very interested in “finding out what made me do it all.” He also expresses an interest to “do whatever can be done to keep me from doing this again.” He is very concerned he will be treated poorly in prison and is afraid of being victimized by the other inmates, although he reports nobody has threatened him since he was first incarcerated. Jeremy expresses significant concerns that he will “learn how to become a criminal as a result of being in prison.” Jeremy wants to participate in both the drug abuse and sex offender treatment programs, and he wants to be involved with weekly psychotherapy to help him “discover” how he can become a better person and never “hurt another person” again.
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