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Juvenile delinquency

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Juvenile delinquency refers to antisocial or criminal acts performed by juveniles. It is an important social issue because juveniles are capable of committing serious crimes, but society must also recognize that responsibility for juvenile behavior goes beyond the juveniles themselves.


Contents

Nature and causes

Juvenile Delinquency refers to either violent or non-violent crime committed by persons who are usually under the age of 16 years. However, there is debvate about whether or not a child should be held responsible for his/her own actions. There are many different outside influences that affect the way a child acts both negatively and positively, some of those influences are as follows:

  1. Physical abuse
  2. Sexual abuse
  3. Mental/verbal abuse
  4. Abandonment
  5. Social institutions
  6. Peer pressure

Theoratrical Perspectives on Juvenile Delinquency and Crime

Travis Hirshi

  1. A scholar in the field of crime and juvenile delinquency as well as other areas, has numerous theories about juvenile delinquency. A few of his most praised theories are social control theory which is any illegal behavior that occurs within the moment, not planned. Also, self control theory which is any behavior that uses force or fraud in pursuit of self interest. Both are similar theories that attempt to explain juvenile delinquency and suggest that all people are naturally bad. Hirshi believes that youth in particular who use drugs and commit crime do it because they lack self control. Hishi believes that poor parenting and families that are unable or unwilling to monitor their child's behaviors lack self control. For these throries to play out in an effective manner, self-control would need to work before social control can work. Hirshi believes that whoever is the most conformist in society, not necessarly the smartest will have the most self-control. Travis Hirshi is saying that too much autonomy is not a good thing when dealing with interpersonal relationships among children.

Robert Merton

Merton believes that there is a serious relationship between poverty and crime. His theory suggests that if you are poor you will commit crime and become a criminal. He feels that there are institutionalized paths to happiness in our society. He believes in a society of equilibrium where goals = means. A society of disequlibrium would be adaptation. Merton's infamous strain theory suggests four attributes.

  1. Innovation: individuals who buy into those socially approved goals.
  2. Retreatism: those who reject goals and means for getting there.
  3. Ritualism: people who buy into system but lose sight of the goal.(merton believes that drug users are actually in this category).
  4. Conformity: those who conform to the system.

See also

Bibliography

  • Siegel J Larry, Juvenile Delinquency with Infotrac: theory, practices and law published 2002

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