Juvenile Delinquency In America
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Prevalence of Delinquency Among Adolescence:
Society places more expectation on the younger generation to be morally upright than the already established persons. This is because adolescents experience a lot of emotional and physical changes during their nascent period. As such, they tend to experiment on a lot of elements within their society. This makes them vulnerable to outside influence. In the United States, juvenile delinquency has been under the spotlight for quite a while. The phenomenon is born out of moral panic and continues to dictate the social value system that impacts on children. Uniformed Crime Report, from the FBI database, has compiled data on juvenile delinquency and continues to collect and organize data on crime and offenses among the juvenile population. The compiled data focuses on factors such as; age, economic class, gender, psychological adjustments, and offense to create an elaborate picture of the impacts of juvenile delinquency within America for the last decade.
Juvenile delinquency in America is excessively represented in the criminal justice system. Official data sources regard juvenile delinquency into two sections of crime and offenses. Elrod and Ryder (2013) identify that official data compiled represents approximately 97% of the U.S. population and is divided into crime index and all offenses except for traffic offenses. The information recorded identifies that juvenile delinquency is a big phenomenon that threatens the moral fabric that controls the U.S. In 2010, 1.2 million juvenile arrests were recorded for people 18 years and younger, of which 81% were nonviolent and 60% of which were non-assaultive (Elrod and Ryder, 2013). This data is considered significant. Compared to the total U.S. population, people between 10-17 years old in arrest history, comprised a substantial number of arrests. Elrod and Ryder (2013) identify that 11% of the U.S. The population is aged between 10-17 year-olds. This implies that they are slightly significant in numbers. In 2017, Yu (2019) identifies that 9% of all arrests in the U.S. were juveniles. This showed that there is a significant decrease in the number of arrests since 2010.
Juveniles from minority communities are more disadvantaged within the criminal justice system. This is even though they were less likely to be arrested than whites, but more likely to perform criminal activities later in life. In 2010, White aged younger than 18 years old represented 48% of total criminal index arrests, while African Americans represented 33% (Elrod and Ryder, 2013). The other minority communities accounted for the remainder. Krohn and Lane (2015) identify that communities with higher greater economic impediments, weak social bonds, a lack of conventional institutions saw a rise in crime recorded. As such, a lack of investment in community growth was critical in sustaining juvenile delinquency. Yu (2019) identify that with the persistence of crime, and exposure to crime from a younger age, chronic offending was witnessed later on in life. This became critical in the criminal justice system, where the minority communities were more likely to be handed a harsher fine and criminal sentence than white juvenile offenders. It also played a role in maintaining social ignorance and biases (Neubauer and Fradella, 2019). This created a system where minority communities were targeted by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
Identify and examine what theory best explains juvenile delinquency:
Public perception of Juvenile activity plays a great role in shaping juvenile justice conduct and juvenile conduct itself. This means that issues on race, class, gender, economic statistics, and social value systems play a central role in defining how society prescribes justice for minors. Juvenile delinquency is defined as a person below the age of 18, who fails to be lawful. In this regard, scientists identify that their environment, peers, and social value system (which plays a very special role in their upbringing) play a very important role in defining how they relate to the law.
The first important theory that examines juvenile delinquency is the Anomie theory by Robert Merton. In empirical research, Hughes, Antonaccio, and Botchkovar (2018) identify that most juveniles are compelled to crime after failing to gain legitimate avenues to make money, remain consistently dissatisfied financially, and lack knowledge on normative avenues to make money. In this regard, they lack access to a happy life. Hughes, Antonaccio, and Botchkovar (2018) identify that financial success is regarded as the only avenue for survival and a happy life. The Merton anomie theory portends that when juveniles do not have legal ways to gain happiness, illegal activities create an alternative route in which they can gain happiness.
Subculture theory by Albert Cohen identifies that juveniles find happiness from a subculture when socially identifiable values do not offer them fulfillment. Blackman (2014) identifies the theory as defiance and resistance to a dominant culture and mainly in aspects viewed outside of what was considered a social norm. Many societies viewed subculture domination among juveniles as moral corruption, creating a panic against it. Blackman (2014) identifies that a subculture may not necessarily be criminal but social organization and value systems make it seem. A key example is the rise of rock and Roll in the 60s. Rock and Roll initially were considered a subculture. Minority communities mainly started it, and social rejects but later gained a nationwide audience through acceptance by adolescents with greater disapproval from their parents who went as far as regarding the genre of music demonic (Mckay, n.d.). Here the juveniles fail to meet the socially agreed standards and are viewed as resistant to the social value system. Thus become more likely to commit a crime or act contrary to social expectations.
Elrod, P., & Ryder, R. S. (2013). Juvenile justice: A social, historical, and legal perspective. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Blackman, S. (2014). Subculture Theory: An Historical and Contemporary Assessment of the
The concept of Understanding Deviance. Deviant Behavior, 35(6), 496–512. https://doi-org.sbcc.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/01639625.2013.859049
Hughes, L. A., Antonaccio, O., & Botchkovar, E. V. (2018). Neighborhoods, Individuals, and
Instrumental Crime in Russia and Ukraine: A Multilevel Test of Merton’s Anomie Theory. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 34(4), 1019–1046. https://doi-org.sbcc.idm.oclc.org/10.1007/s10940-017-9364-7
Krohn, M. D., & Lane, J. (2015). The handbook of juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice. John Wiley & Sons.
McKay, G. (n.d.). Yankee go home (& take me with U): Americanization and popular culture. A&C Black.
Neubauer, D. W., & Fradella, H. F. (2019). America’s courts and the criminal justice system. Cengage Learning.
Yu, T. (2019). Tackling the juvenile delinquency | Root causes of juvenile delinquency | family-based early intervention. Retrieved from https://www.ebpsociety.org/blog/education/378-root-causes-of-juvenile-delinquency