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the Case of Isaiah

Respond to the following prompts:

Address the failures of the systems that should have intervened with providing services to Isaiah. Specifically, note the types of intervention services Isaiah needed as a youth.

According to psychoanalytical theory, what are the three stages of psychological development through which a person passes? Apply these psychological stages as it pertains to Isaiah.

What types of deviant behavior regarding Isaiah can be traced to the stages of development?

According to learning/behavior theory, what is the cause of Isaiah’s antisocial behavior?

According to labeling theory, how can the criminal justice system hinder efforts of rehabilitation in Isaiah’s case?

Isaiah is a 32-year-old hispanic male, never married, has one child from a late-adolescent
relationship. Isaiah has no contact with this child who is now 14 years old. Isaiah’s parental
rights were terminated by the state when the child was one-year old, due to Isaiah s lengthy
history of alcohol and drug abuse. The incident that resulted in Isaiah s parental rights being
terminated occurred when the child was two months old. Isaiah took the infant with him on a
“drug buy” to purchase black tar heroin and methamphetamine. During the drug buy, there was a
drive-by shooting that killed the drug dealer. Isaiah was uninjured but dropped the infant on the
sidewalk as he fled the scene, causing extensive trauma to his child’s head requiring emergency
His child is now severely brain damaged and lives in an institution. Isaiah was not criminally
charged with the child’s injury.
Isaiah has been using drugs and alcohol since age 12. He began experimenting with his father’s
alcohol. Isaiah does not know his mother who left the family when Isaiah was four years old.
Isaiah’s father is an alcoholic who is currently hospitalized, terminally ill with alcohol-induced
cirrhosis of the liver. “I raised myself,” Isaiah says. “We lived on welfare, and my father stole
stuff to get us food and to buy booze. I stopped going to school in the seventh grade. Nobody
cared, so I just quit.” Between the ages of 12 and 17, Isaiah used alcohol to excess as well as
marijuana, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, black tar heroin, inhalants, Valium, and PCP. He
committed burglaries and armed robberies to obtain money for drugs.
At age 18, Isaiah was arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) and possession of burglary
tools. Since this was his first offense, Isaiah received one year of probation and paid a fine of
$2,000. Two months later, Isaiah was arrested for selling marijuana. His probation was violated
and he spent six months in the county jail. He served his sentence and was released. The
following year, Isaiah was arrested for reckless driving to elude a police officer, assault on a
police officer, possession of heroin and crack cocaine, and DUI. Upon the advice of his public
defender, Isaiah pled guilty to these offenses and was incarcerated for three years.
In prison, Isaiah attended group drug counseling. The social worker in charge of the drug
rehabilitation program indicated that he did well in the program and seemed sincere about
wanting to stay off drugs and get a job. Isaiah was paroled six months later. His parole officer
assisted him in obtaining his GED, finding a job on a construction crew, and obtaining a room in
a halfway house for paroled drug offenders. Isaiah was randomly drug tested, and all tests were
negative for the presence of drugs. Isaiah completed his parole period successfully. Due to
chronic late arrivals, Isaiah lost his job on the construction crew.
He and another fired crew member began producing methamphetamine from a remote, rural
location in Warner Springs. By this time, Isaiah was drinking to blackout daily, smoked
methamphetamine at least five times a day, and injected heroin twice a day. He and his partner
“cooked” methamphetamine from a mobile home where they also lived with Isaiah’s drugaddicted girlfriend and her two small children. The methamphetamine lab was discovered by
undercover DEA agents for two reasons: Isaiah had ordered 50,000 pills of ephedrine through
the Internet, and the odor of the methamphetamine lab attracted the attention of a nearby resident
who reported the lab to the police. Isaiah and his partner were arrested by undercover DEA
agents who made a “buy” from Isaiah.
Isaiah was arrested for drug trafficking, possession of controlled substances, child endangerment,
assault on a federal agent, and possession of illegal firearms. He was convicted on all charges
and received a sentence of 25 years to life imprisonment. Isaiah is now incarcerated in a
maximum security prison. He has repeated violations for manufacturing alcohol, smuggling
“blotter acid” into the prison via his girlfriend who is now also incarcerated, forcible sodomy on
another prisoner, two assaults on other prisoners, and possession of a “shank.” Isaiah refuses to
participate in drug treatment and is not eligible for parole for 15 years. His physical health is
very poor; experts in correctional medicine are treating him for “meth mouth,” pre-cirrhosis liver
damage, hepatitis B and C, skin necrosis or rotting of the skin at injection sites, and lung disease.
So far, Isaiah has not tested positive for HIV and this test is repeated every six months since
Isaiah admitted to sharing needles with other addicts. Isaiah’s inmate peer group consists of the
Mexican Mafia. He has no visitors and receives no mails.
The Bureau of Prisons is considering releasing Isaiah on supervised released to reduce the inmate
population due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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