Juvenile delinquency is when a minor (person of age between 10 and 18) commits an act that is contrary to the law. Such laws are called delinquent acts and adjudication is done after the minor will receive a disposition and a sentence (Hirschi, 2012). Why would children engage in such acts? Do adults play a role in influencing the involvement of juveniles in such acts? If so why? Is it possible to rehabilitate delinquents? Can delinquency be prevented?
Research on juvenile delinquency was prompted by the recent rise in cases of minors getting involved in law breaking activities. Many Law experts have been trying to explain delinquency and also suggest ways on how it can be prevented. The main reason being the concern that the minors are the future leaders and hence need to be taught to be responsible. Early identification of risk factors leading to delinquency, addressing them and establishing protective factors to counter the threats are the best steps to preventing delinquency.
The research involved 20 volunteers (15 males and 5 females including 3 adults). The volunteers were from two different areas that have reported the highest cases of delinquency in the past three months hence some were directly involved in the acts at some point.
A questionnaire was issued to each participant, and the one-on-one interview was also done. During the interviews that lasted about an hour, each the volunteers gave detailed information on their view of causes of delinquency which was recorded (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 2013). The instruments used in the data gathering section were mainly questionnaires and tape recorders. The information given was then compared and recorded. The identity of the participants was however classified as some of them gave classified information.
Eighteen participants gave marching information with their responses matching those of the previous researches done. Two, however, appeared to have given little information on the issue as their responses did not match what they had initially stated in the questionnaire. The primary cause of delinquency came out as poverty. The area being mostly of low-class people the children spend most of their time at home as they lack school fees. The lack of other essential needs then compels the youth to join gangs that are involved in a robbery with violence, drug, and substance abuse and pickpocketing (Loeber, & Farrington, 2013). Some social factors also emerged like school dissatisfaction. Most of the parents work for many hours during the day hence lack time to monitor their childrens welfare, the schools in the area have an unmanageable student-teacher ratio and lack entertainment activities. These factors make some students to get dissatisfied with education turn to drug abuse, gambling or eve-teasing which seem more appealing to them.
Uncontrolled access to the internet has enabled minors to access pornographic literature which proves sexual desires, in particular among the adolescents. They then start engaging in sexual activities to satisfy their desires and in the process commit crimes (Shaw & McKay, 2012). Other factors that emerged were: mental deficiency, emotional and psychological problems and peer influence.
In conclusion, Juvenile delinquency can be prevented by addressing its leading causes and countering them. The minors victimize many people and parents have to spend massive amounts of money on rehabilitating them. Parental responsibility is the key to addressing delinquency since the other factor will mainly depend on it. Intense criminology study should, therefore, be carried out on juvenile delinquency as it imposes substantial costs on parents and is related to more severe and violent crimes.
Hirschi, T. (2012). Causes of delinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Loeber, R., & Farrington, D. P. (Eds.). (2013). Causes of conduct disorder and juvenile delinquency. New York: Guilford Press.
Shaw, C. R., & McKay, H.D. (2012). Juvenile delinquency and urban areas. Chicago University Press.Gottfredson, M.R., & Hirschi, T. (2013). A general theory of crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
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