Juvenile Delinquency: Causes and Interventions to Stop It

Over the years, the number of delinquents has always been on an increasing trend. This has caused serious concerns with various researchers seeking to determine the root cause of this predicament. However, it is imperative for one (scholars) to draw a clear line between a child and adult offenders before conducting a study. This also applies to the law, which clearly distinguishes between juvenile delinquents and adult reprobates.

Different viewpoints have emerged regarding juvenile delinquents and grownup lawbreakers. Many years back, the common law of England profoundly influenced the rules upheld by American colonies. They influenced various aspects of US legal system including the juvenile laws. This document, therefore, is going to analyze various aspects of juvenile delinquency such as the causes and intervention strategies required to fight against the menace.

It is imperative for one to comprehend that, for an act to be an offense, two principles must hold. One, the person in question must have a premeditation to commit a misdeed or offense. Secondly, he or she has to commit the actual offense. If any of this is absent, then there is no crime committed. Children under seven years are considered as infants; the law considers them too young to comprehend the consequences of their actions. However, Children above the age of fourteen are in a position to distinguish a correct act from the incorrect one. This allows the law to charge them normally, if found guilty.

There is an undefined age gap between the ages of seven and fourteen. This has raised numerous debates on how children of this age gap should be treated thus making it a hot topic for discussions. Some individuals argued that, if the child was in a position to differentiate between rights and wrong, then he would face the ultimate legal justice, otherwise the law could not apply.

For a large number of the youth’s population today, customary patterns steering the associations and evolutions between family, school, and work face various challenges. Communal associations that ensure an efficient process of socialization are in the verge of collapse. The reformation of the labour market, the lengthening of the maturity range, and perhaps the fewer opportunities to become a self-supporting adult are all transformations influencing relationships with family and friends, educational prospects and alternatives, labor market involvement, leisure activities and the way of living (Dunlap & Roush, 1995).

It is impracticable to develop efficient prevention programmes without comprehending the factors behind juvenile connection to illegal activity. From a criminologist perspective, juvenile delinquency includes all public mistakes committed by youth in the age bracket of 12 and 20. Sociologists, on the other hand, see the youth misconduct in a broader perspective; they believe that it encompasses a massive amount of different breaches of legal and social regulations, ranging from lesser offences to major crimes (Wallace, & Roberson, 2008).

Offenses committed by the young folks are referred or termed as status offenses. Such offences only apply to offenders who are infants and not the adults. In explaining the theoretical characteristics of delinquency, scholars associate youth deeds with their family unit, peer, and neighborhood among other variables that significantly influence or affect the young people’s social surroundings or environment (Henggeler & Sheidow, 2003). They refer the youth’s rebellious behavior to a conventional path toward maturity.

The UN (United Nations) understands Juvenile’s deeds of not obeying the rules of general social norms and ethics is often part of the growth process. However, these deeds often have a tendency of spontaneously fading away in most individuals with the transition to adult life. At one time, youths commit numerous legal wrongs in the course of their adolescence. However, they do not turn into criminals in the end.

Juveniles regularly make stable criminal groups in the process of becoming adults. These formed gangs are often equivalent to a subculture of committing criminal acts hence forcing members into delinquent profession. According to collected statistical data from numerous countries, delinquency is mostly a product from group influence. Members of these unlawful groups contribute a significant percentage of all the juvenile unlawful acts (Bartollas & Miller, 2008). In accordance with the information retrieved from the Russian Federation, the level of unlawful acts associated with juvenile groups is approximately three to four times elevated than that of their counterparts (adult criminals). It also noted that Juvenile group offense is rampant within the age cluster 17 and 14. However, the most committed crime by these gangs includes rape, theft, and robbery taking the highest proportion. However, it is necessary to understand that juvenile group behaviors emanates in almost every class and social context.

Some of the addressed factors following the escalating rates of juvenile delinquents include Social and Economic factors such as economic disturbances, political imbalances, and the dwindling of most vital institutions. Socio-economic volatility more often connect to increasing unemployment and low incomes, which amplifies the involvement of youths in criminal activities.

Cultural factors in relation to delinquent behavior commonly transpire in social surroundings where norms for customary behavior have declined significantly (Tremblay, 1994). Under such conditions, many of the regular rules that prevent people from socially unacceptable deeds often lose their significance. Eventually, youths end up developing poor and irresponsible behaviors thus engaging in rebellious, criminal, or deviant activities.

Delinquency groups and subcultures have a tendency of using violence to solve their various problems. They regard hostility as the best preferable approach when solving their problem. Such characters often lead to the development of “subcultures of aggression” whereby gangs gain pleasure from hostility and aggression. Therefore, the most easy way delinquent or legally offensive activities, is by associating with territorial gangs. According to statistical substantiation, delinquent gangs commit three times as much misdeed, when compared to the ones committed by youths who do not belong to any criminal group. Studies show that the nearly all legal problems registered by gangs include extortion and physical fighting among many others.

There are various ways of intervening juvenile crimes. Some of these ways include intercession via the juvenile justice system and specific deterrence and treatment programs. Various studies have examined these different strategies thus proving the extent of their effectiveness. The most successful initiatives are those that deter young people from indulging in delinquent behaviors. Successful school-based programs can also inhibit certain undesired problems such as drug use, felony by infants of children, rebellious deeds, and school dropouts, which often encourage students to commit felony (Henggeler & Sheidow, 2003). Additionally, engaging youths in community-based programs can also prevent delinquent from engaging in unlawful activities by keeping them busy. Creation of community organs working alongside families can assist to train a child and further refine his or her behavior to become a helpful member of a society. However, it is imperative to understand that implementing a fruitful plan can take a longer time, since the transformation process is gradual. Despite the formation of these programs (evidence-based programs), only an insignificant number of young people are allowed as qualified partakers.

Timely preventive work is underway in various areas with promising approaches and initiatives being the main tools for mitigations. For instance, within the economic division, specialized advancement programs are being set up to provide legal substitutes for income creation. These programs aim at supplying teenagers and young people with more economic opportunities, education, professional training, modern workplaces and assistance in systematizing businesses. Such programs helps in keeping the youths busy thus inhibiting their participation in delinquent activities. Educational programs helps the youths learn how to engage in constructive self-appraisal, manage conflict, and manage aggression in an appropriate manner (Bartollas &miller, 2008). These programs restrict the formation of youth gangs and further help in finding alternatives to youth unlawful behaviors. Some of these programs also work with distressed young people, to help them advance their social and cognitive skills, essential in promoting excellent behaviors. Ultimately, Children well raised, at various fronts (home, community and school) often grow these outstanding abilities.

Leisure and other social activities promoted in the Riyadh policy or strategy can also help in curbing this youth problems. Various towns in the United States, for instance, have basketball programs for young people thus leading to a sixty percent reduction of crime rates.

In addition to basketball programs, Columbia University researchers established a mixed alliance of young boys and girls aimed at minimizing criminal offenses into insignificant levels. The program aimed at moderating the level of juvenile delinquency by altering urban settings, changing the physical features, and making opportunities available to youths.

A research study carried out in one of the US cities showed that most of the actions of juveniles focused on certain strategic locations in the city center, town parks. Therefore, redesigning the park will help create an environment favoring the spending of adequate leisure time for juveniles and their guardians. The number of constructive afternoon activities held in schools and parks should also be increased. All of these mentioned intervention measures can help reduce juvenile delinquency to insignificant levels.

Recently, greater consideration focuses on the role and responsibility of neighboring communities in handling juvenile delinquency (Regnerus, 2003). There are programmes intended to train groups and local community representatives in areas seriously affected by juvenile unlawful acts. The program aim at influencing the adolescents and incorporate them in beneficial activities (Regnerus, 2003). The idea that the youth can function as a team with adults to advance their state of affairs has gained popularity in the previous decade.

Youth are encouraged to come on boards, suggest ideas and hold up community efforts by way of prearranged volunteering. There is a promising progress to fight against juvenile delinquency and illicit activities following the increased participation of NGOs and volunteers in various communal works. Additionally, program for putting off gang delinquency continues to involve kids and youth into structured group activities. Through societal service agencies or associations, for instance, the YWCA, scouts and other community centers, juvenile delinquency is lowered to insignificant levels. Collaboration between several agents of prevention work is becoming progressively more vital. Various prevention initiatives premeditated and implemented by the whole society is the excellent approach. Therefore, it is likely that approaches, which understands and involve youths in various activities, will take center stage within the next twenty years.

In Conclusion, juvenile delinquency entails a multitude of various breaches of legal and communal norms, varying from lesser offences to major crimes committed by youth. Some individuals relate Juvenile delinquency to the process of development and growth. They argue that the behavior disappears instinctively as youths make the steps towards their adult life. Poverty, social segregation, marginalization, and unemployment are some of the reasons or factors that contribute to the spreading of this illegal act by the youths.

Illegal acts committed by juveniles often have groups, which motivate their activities. These groups often grow thus acting as subcultures. Additionally, these acts are principally a male phenomenon, since the most crime proportions are committed by the males followed with the insignificant ones for females.

Juvenile delinquency is linked to various harmful behaviors, which negatively affect the community (Regnerus, 2003). However, despite these adverse effects, there are various approaches or intervention measures that can help mitigate these undesired behaviors. Among the various possible ways, include the formation of youth groups and involvement of youths in various activities among many others.

If delinquency interventions are to be truly successful, superior precedence must be set for vulnerable, marginalized, and underprivileged young people in society. Additionally, issues linking to the youth in their unlawful acts should be given a fundamental focus in the national youth guiding principle. Moreover, the supervision of juvenile justice ought to be decentralized in order to give local authorities adequate capacity thus becoming energetically involved, in deterring youth crime and reincorporating young offenders into society via support projects.

References

Bartollas, C. & Miller, S. (2008). Juvenile justice in America. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Dunlap, L. & Roush, D. (1995). Juvenile detention as process and place. Juvenile and family court journal, 46, 3–16.

Henggeler, S. & Sheidow, A. (2003). Conduct disorder and delinquency. Journal of marital and family therapy, 29, 505–522.

Henggeler, S. & Sheidow, J. (2003). Conduct disorder and delinquency. Journal of marital and family therapy, 29, 505–522.

Regnerus, M. (2003). Moral communities and adolescent delinquency. The sociological quarterly, 44, 523–554.

Tremblay, R. (1994). Delinquents on delinquency. Aggressive Behavior, 20, 151–153.

Wallace, H. & Roberson, C. (2008). Principles of criminal law. Boston, MA: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.