- Juvenile Delinquency and Justice
- Nature and Extent of Delinquency
- Causes of Delinquency
- Prevention and Environmental Influences
Welcome to CJ-210, Juvenile Delinquency and Justice.
This course is an introduction to the American system of juvenile justice. The course will cover the relationships between juveniles and the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, juvenile diversion programs, courts, probation and parole, service organizations and the correctional system. Current social trends in juvenile crime, gang activity, and premeditated violence will be discussed.
The student examines the historical precedents and philosophical reasons for treating juveniles differently from adults; reviews empirical evidence about child development that can illuminate the reasons for their special status within the system. It will study the major theories that have been proposed as explanations of delinquent behavior. The course will also provide a detailed overview of the juvenile justice system, from its beginnings to the current state of the institution.
Dr. Michael Thompson
/Flaw in the System//
When we think about the family we are going to have in the future we think white picket fence, a husband or wife we love, a dog, the two kids, and the happy ever after we will live. Not once in that scenario do we think and at the age of 14 my son will be arrested and sent away for stealing loose change from unlocked cars to buy a bag of chips, yet when this happens we would hope the Judges, Parole Officers, Officers, and anyone else that has a hand in our child’s future from then on out would be diligent or at least competent. However it appears the truth about our juvenile justice system is not a good one. In an article written in 2009 “For more than four years earlier that decade, two senior county juvenile-court judges in northeastern Pennsylvania took kickbacks of $2.6 million in exchange for packing thousands of kids off to privately owned detention centers. Many of the kids had committed minor offenses and didn't have the benefit of a lawyer”. What's more, many prosecutors, public defenders and other court officials apparently turned a blind eye to the abuses, shocking parents who had expected a fine or probation and instead watched their children be dragged off into custody. As egregious as these cases are, experts say it is all too indicative of a juvenile-justice system racked with abuses yet subject to far less scrutiny than the adult system it increasingly mirrors. The entire Texas juvenile-justice system had to be overhauled two years ago after it was discovered that kids were arbitrarily held years beyond their original sentence and that many were sexually abused.
Most of those detention centers private or not have rehabilitation programs, this would be a good thing you would think. Yet these programs has one HUGE flaw, lumping troubled kids in with more troubled kids. Researchers have found that rather than rehabilitating these kids they appeared to worsen their demeanor. Compared with other kids with a similar history of bad behavior, those who entered the juvenile-justice system were nearly seven times more likely to be arrested for crimes as adults. Further, those who ended up being sentenced to juvenile prison were 37 times more likely to be arrested again as adults, compared with similarly misbehaved kids who were either not caught or not put into the system.
Though don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the kids are not culpable, they have their fair share of the blame. Scientists both at a research institute in Seattle and a University in Washington randomly picked 5oo Myspace profiles (this was back in 2009 so Facebook today) belonging to 18-year-olds, 54% of them showed that they were posting about risky sexual lifestyles, drug addictions, or violent encounters. However the approach that was used was not necessarily…smart. Have you ever downloaded a picture of a gun or posted a photograph of Al Pacino in Scarface on your MySpace (Facebook now) profile? Yes? You're violent. What about completing a sex survey and displaying the results? Or using a Playboy bunny icon to represent you? Well then, you're probably promiscuous. Is your profile picture one of you drinking or smoking? You're an addict. This was how the Riskiness was chosen for those kids, now was this accurate? No, but then again if say a 16-year-old girl was posting about becoming the local college’s bicycle or a 12-year-old boy posted pictures about trying cocaine for the first time, now this might be more problematic.
All in all our juvenile justice system has way too many flaws considering it’s handling the countries future.
Peer pressure causing juveniles getting into trouble
The first juvenile court was established in 1899 in Chicago. At the time, anyone under the age of seventeen who committed a crime was placed in the same judicial system as adults. As social views began to change, many started to see juvenile offenders as youths who had simply lost their way, rather than hardened criminals. It was believed that with proper instruction, and disciplinary guidelines instituted, a youth could be rehabilitated and again become a productive member of society.
A big factor that cause juveniles to get into trouble is caused by peer pressure by family. Adolescents with criminal siblings are only more likely to be influenced by their siblings, and also become delinquent, if the sibling is older, of the same sex/gender, and warm. Cases where a younger criminal sibling influences an older one are rare. An aggressive, non-loving/warm sibling is less likely to influence a younger sibling in the direction of delinquency, if anything, the more strained the relationship between the siblings, the less they will want to be like, and/or influence each other.
If a child has low parental supervision they are much more likely to get in trouble. Studies have found a strong connection between a lack of supervision and offending, and it appears to be the most important family influence. The parents commonly do not know where their children are, what their activities are, or who their friends are, children are more likely to not go to school and have delinquent friends. The lack of supervision is also connected to poor relationships between children and parents. Children who are closer with their parents may be less willing to discuss their activities with them. Some children who grew up with no fathers had to learn to support themselves which is difficult for them and they can choose bad choices, not knowing what’s wrong and what’s right.
Juveniles with criminal siblings are only more likely to be influenced by their siblings, and also become delinquent, if the sibling is older, of the same sex/gender, and warm. Cases where a younger criminal sibling influences an older one are rare.
Juveniles didn’t become troubled on their own. Peer pressure causes them to get into trouble. Gangs play a big part in this in today’s youth. Family members are in gangs and it makes them want to be in it or they are forced to. Parents can help their children by talking and setting rules to help them to not get into trouble. Parents should know where and what their children are doing at all times. If parents could do this, it would help the children from doing anything bad.
Causes of Delinquency
Juvenile delinquency has got to be one of the worst problems of the United States. This problem is getting worse and worse every day. Every day more and more kids are getting caught up in gangs, drugs, and alcohol. When they get caught up with gangs they are encouraged to do drugs, alcohol, and commit crimes like vandalism and other minor crimes. On not very rare occasions they are also encouraged to commit high priority crimes like murder. This is why people should eliminate the causes of juvenile delinquency at their source. In this essay there are going to be two causes of delinquency that will be focused on.
The first cause of delinquency is a mental disorder. They are called psychopaths or sociopaths. The definition of a psychopath is a person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior. In the case of juvenile delinquency is an undomesticated child with no sense of trust in adults. Robert Hare made a checklist to identify psychopaths. Here are some of the many different characteristics. Conning and manipulative; this means they will try to con and manipulate people to get what they want. The next is a lack of remorse or guilt. A person who is not a psychopath would feel remorse when they know they did something wrong, or feel guilty when they did something wrong, but a psychopath would not feel the remorse or guilt when they commit a crime, like shoplifting for example. This next one would be a very good example of psychopathy, its callousness and the lack of empathy. A psychopath would maybe laugh at a homeless person and make fun of him or harass him, but a person that’s not a psychopath would probably feel bad for the person and give him some money and try to help the man. The next characteristic of a psychopath also would most likely live in the now, while a normal person would work for the future goals that he set for himself. This means that a psychopath will probably have as much fun as possible and not really try to accomplish in life but thrive to accomplish in life. The next is the characteristic of being impulsive. The acts of being impulsive means that you act on your first reaction and do not think of the consequences of your actions. Nonpsychopaths would think about what they are doing when it comes to things they most likely would avoid conflict. The last characteristic that’s going to be talked about is the inability to accept responsibility for their actions. Most of the time if a psychopath fails at something like their job they will blame their boss or their other co-workers. Most people would just try to correct themselves. As you can see there are a lot of ways to tell if someone is a psychopath and this is not even half of the characteristics. There are a lot more characteristics for psychopathy. So that concludes the first cause of delinquency.
The next cause of delinquency that’s going to be focused on is called the Control Theory. The Control theory has two parts, the Containment theory and the Social Control Theory. Lets start with the Containment Theory. The inner containment involves on how you think about your self and how you act to certain situations. What this pretty much says is that if you have a bad outlook at yourself you have a chance of being a delinquent. This also says if you can’t control your own actions your going to maybe be a delinquent. There is also an outer containment, which consists of your expectations goals, the feeling that you have an identity, and have belongingness. What this is saying if you don’t set expectations for yourself you wont have anything to work for and will get distracted with stuff like delinquency. What this also has in it is that you should also have a sense of belongingness, and a sense of identity. Also this has that you should have good supervision and discipline to be able to set these goals. Next what’s going to be talked about is the Social Control Theory. Travis Hirschi came up with this theory, which pretty much says that if you’re not social you might be a delinquent. There are four main elements to the Social Control Theory. The first element is attachment. The attachment part of the theory says that if you don’t have a connection to your parents, teachers, and friends. This would give you the sense of belongingness that should be provided. The next is commitment. This says that you should commit to succeed in your educational goals, your property goals, and your reputation goals. The third element is involvement. This says that the more time you spend on your conventional activities the better you will be off in the long run. The last element of the Social Control Theory is belief. The belief element, says that you should believe the law and social norms. When it says when it believes the law, and social norms means that you have respect for the law, and for the social norms. That is what the Control theory states.
As you can see there is a lot of reason for delinquency. This is not even half of the reasons for delinquency, its not even close. So if we try to help children out with stuff like bullying and get them socially involved we could solve the problem of delinquency. We have to keep working at it though. So there is the causes of delinquency.