Juvenile delinquency is an antisocial behavior in the criminal justice that involves participation in the illegal activities and actions by the minors or by individuals who are below the statutory age of minority. A crime is any particular act prohibited by the law and in which the society has provided a formally sanctioned punishment. It also refers to the failure of a person to perform a particular act that is required by the law. Crimes are punished according to the gravity of it whether one is an adult or a minor. The serious offense can include a felony that includes violent crimes, sex offense, and property and drug violation.
A juvenile delinquent is a person who is below the age of 17 years who commits an illegal activity that would have been charged with a crime if they were supposed to be adults. Juvenile crimes range from the status crimes, property crimes and violent crimes (Johnson1979). When most teens reach adolescent, they tend to commit non-violent crimes that eventually leads to violent crimes. To understand the concept of juvenile delinquency, the types, causes, and criminological theories need to be examined so as to make an inference on the way forward.
Youth delinquency is classified into three categories. They are used to differentiate different ways in which the criminal justice handles youth delinquency. The group includes crimes committed by the delinquents, behaviors on the offense perpetrated by minors and the status of the offenses (Wickliffe 2015). These entire groups bring out the issue of youth crimes and in a way; it lays down the causes. Adolescent is a critical period that most offenders are likely to be caught up. There are two types of offenders; life- course-persistence offender and concrete age offender. Life- course-persistence offender shows aggressive behaviors in adolescent or even during childhood and persists into adulthood. Specific age offender is the type of juvenile delinquency that starts and end at the early stage. Most teenagers are very offensive during their adolescent period.
Various characteristics trigger juvenile delinquency. Some of these factors are because of lack of proper care and guidance from the parents, lack of understanding among the parents and the adolescents CITATION Jos15 \l 1033 (Wickliffe, 2015). The youth will think they are treated unfairly and thus commit an offense so as to attract attention or rebel against the pressure. Peer pressure from fellow teens can also lead to deviants activities like the involvement of drugs and stealing. Some of the factors are individual or personal, and the teenagers control their ability to make choices and to be assertive. The ability of the delinquents to account for their folly in some situations lies in the personal behavior and knowhow.
Though the offenders are minors or underage, they are considered as responsible for handling their actions and thus the juvenile courts are implemented to correct the vise. The problem need not to be overlooked as juvenile delinquency is one of the issues affecting the USA CITATION Nat141 \l 1033 (National Institute of Justice, 2014).
The crimes committed by children under the age of eighteen if not handled could be fatal. Some of the children are gang leaders whereby they beat, steal and even kill people in the society. In the past, crime was treated equally regardless of the age. The minors were tried and convicted as an adult and later taken to the adult jails. The act exposed the minors to torture, mistreatment and instead of making them better the situation worsened the offenders since they became bitter with the society.
For the delinquents to be fairly treated by the court, they had to be separated with the adults and thus the juvenile courts. The fact that juvenile offenders are known to exist is not just enough as the judiciary and the public at large should be able to determine the causes of the aggressive behavior. The youths hold a significant role in the society, and if their morals and character are eroded, then the future is at a stake. Information on the intensified causes of juvenile delinquency is much relevant to the problem will enable the concerned party to get a wake -up call and be able to come up with the solution for a healthy sustainable environment for the youths.
Juvenile delinquency goes as much as committing serious crimes like robbery, assaults, rapes and homicides. There is, therefore, no limit to committing crimes as the under age are also capable of turning the society upside down.There are some crimes however that do not need severe punishment. An offense like misdemeanor can be given sentences of probation, county detention, fine or a combination of the three. But an offense like a felony, the offender is subjected to a sentence of a state institution.
Juvenile delinquency is disturbing, and many theories have been brought forth to evaluate the reason the Juvenile delinquencies are rampant. Arrest percentages tend to increase over the period as the society lifestyle is also changing. Many questions are left lingering in the peoples mind as why young children commit certain atrocities. As the society is advancing in modern means of technology and communication, the issue of exposure to weapons, drugs and other vices will not only act as a catalyst to the crime but also cause risks to the societys future.
The criminology theory will try to transpire on the reason behind the youth increased crime. The theories will enable the community to identify remedies that will reduce the juvenile delinquency. The theories will help examine whether the cause of delinquency is due to: Bad parenting, the pressure that their fellow peers give the teenager, to gain attention, as a show off, poverty, environment that is around the children like being brought up in poor housing condition or as an individual choice where some children decide to be offensive.
There are criminological theories that deal with the cause of youth delinquency. The rational theory is a theory that explains the cause of crime as an individual responsibility rather than environmental (Lawrence & Hesse2010). It emphasizes the importance of a person free will. The act of being able to choose what is right or evil lies in the power of decision making. Delinquency is one of the factors that are affected by rational choice. In essence, it is revealed that some teenagers are not influenced by the physical, environmental or emotional factors. They only make their choice with a sane mind. The offense, therefore, is handled as a criminal responsibility and thus is punished accordingly.
The rational theory elaborates the individual risk factors that could lead to committing offenses. Different behaviors include low intelligence, impulsiveness or the ability to delay gratification, aggression, lack of empathy and restlessness. Most young people act from impulse due to being hot tempered and aggressive. Some work out of sheer malice or lack of compassion and in the act they end up committing an offense.
Another theory that elaborates the juvenile delinquency is the social disorganization theory (Regoli, Hewitt & DeLisi 2014). The theory gives an attribute in the variation of crimes and delinquency over a period. This approach examines the absence, or the breakdown of communal institutions and encouragement of tradition cooperate relationships. The social disorganization is present in institutions like schools, family, church and social organization. Lack of proper organization in those crucial institutions causes the young people to be misguided, mishandled and finally the minors can find themselves committing crimes.
The family should guide the children from the start, from where the children are taking the first step up to where they move to the first level of growth that is the adolescent. The connection between the parents and the children should be firm and with understanding. The quality of the relationship between the parents and children should be perfected not only when the teenager is in his or her early stage of growth but also when they are going into the crucial stage of their life. Adolescent stage is where most teenagers experience rebellious, mischievousness, and withdrawal from parents. If the parent keeps off from the children, they might indulge in criminal activities like taking and trafficking drugs, violent behaviors that might bring severe consequences and even steal due to peer pressure.
Juvenile delinquency is fundamentally rebellious and unlawful activities committed by children in their teenage or pre-teenage life (Lahey& Moffitt2003). Some parents give severe punishments to their children; some family suffers from domestic violence, divorce, abuse of parents, the level of supervision from the parents and neglect. All this factors provide a gap in the upbringing of the children. Misuse of a parent can damage a child state of mind and instead cause the children to become violent. The social disorganization theory explains the role played by the social institutions and the family in creating and managing the delinquents. The church is a social institution that should make sure that there is community awareness in the values that are supposed to be upheld by everyone be it a child or an adult.
The church teaches on the need for humility thus violence is not tolerated. The church also is supposed to be organized so as to provide canceling to the parents who are taking care of adolescent children. If the church teaches parents about tolerance towards the teenagers, ways of handling them when they withdraw and become rebellious, then delinquency of characters who want to attract attention will be reduced. The school is another type of institution which if not well organized; the children can find solace in delinquency. The school is an institution of learning where discipline and moral values are taught. If it is disorganized, then the children will lack proper guidance and quality life lessons. Social disorganization theory merely connects the society and the upbringing of children.
The differential theory is a criminology theory that tries to explain how peer pressure causes juvenile delinquency (Quay1987). It views the crime in a group context. The theory suggests that young people are lured into committing crimes by the influence from peers. In essence, it is usually common for peers to walk in a group and by doing so; they can create gangs that can indulge in unlawful behaviors like stealing, violence and beating other teens. The theory indicates that young people learn how to commit crimes from delinquent peers. The delinquent peers must have learned the skills from their criminal friends so they can also practice. It goes without saying that bad company will ruin good morals. The children who have got low self-assertiveness or lack proper guidance in home, schools and other social institutions will be lured into this venture.
It may be wondered how the peers manages to thrive as criminal, and the situation poses a challenge for many as they try to understand the logic. Nevertheless, the peers that have got criminal friends will copy their way of doing things and finally perfect in that field. It is therefore in an understanding of the differential theory that brings out how the peer transforms to gangs who act centrally to the law. The theory creates an insight and concern to the small groups that peers form the shield of nobody understanding them. Since they lack experience, they cannot advise one another and so whatever they settle for is what they do.
Labeling theory is another approach in criminology that explains the issue of delinquents (Dostoyevsky & Garnett 2006). The theory explains the deviant behavior of the minors from the soci...
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