Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Social Problem with Delinquency

            Juvenile delinquency is one of the most serious problems within society, which is a byproduct of modern urbanization and industrialization. This issue requires a great amount of attention because it involves various causes and effects. Family influences such as broken homes, malnutrition of parenting, economic instability, drug and alcohol abuse or domestic violence are all causes that may lead to juvenile delinquency. Other social influences such as school, peer pressure or neighborhood influences are also main causes of such issues.
            According to the United States Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), there were a total of 32,655,677 10-18 year old adolescents alive in the year 2009. In that same year there were 1,906,600 arrests made that involved juveniles in that same age range. These statistics show that juvenile delinquency is a problem to society due to the high number of arrest and crimes being committed.
            Not only does delinquency affect the youth population but also the whole family and entire neighborhoods.  The juvenile delinquent is the person who suffers the most from his or her actions; he/she may lose their freedom due to incarceration or probation while also losing ground academically. They risk their future of obtaining a higher education when involved in crime. Although placement in detention centers may be the proper consequence it might also get the juvenile acquainted with more serious offenders and leads them to be influenced into future recidivism. The trauma of having a family member involved in delinquent behavior can create instability within the family. Not only does the family have to deal with ethical issues such as creating more responsibility for the parents but must also deal with economic hardships. Drug use, gang involvement, and vandalism correlate with delinquency, therefore leaving the neighborhood unsafe and costing the city large amounts to protect.
            Estimating the cost of juvenile crime is difficult; accumulating the total amount of all direct and indirect crime (including adults and juveniles) has cost the whole nation tens to hundred billions of dollars annually.  This includes cost to the government, medical cost to individuals, stolen or damaged property, loss of productivity to society, loss of work time and loss of property value (Legislative Analysis’s Office, 2005). The LAO statistics show that the state incarceration of juveniles has the highest per capita cost. Youth authority corrections cost the state of California $32,000 per capita annually while K-12 education only receives $4,200.
            No one truly benefits from juvenile delinquency. In a time of economic upturn, the people seeking employment within juvenile corrections and prevention programs are the only ones who benefit from adolescents committing crime.
            Any adult that allows or encourages illegal behavior by a person under the age of 18 is contributing to that youth’s delinquency. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor can be as simple as allowing them to skip school or as complex as having a child around a home where domestic violence is taking place. Not only are adults responsible for contributing to the problem of juvenile delinquency, but also youth peers. Peer pressure is a huge contributor to reasoning of why kids commit crimes.
            Traditionally the juvenile justice system has employed sanctions, treatments and rehabilitation to change problematic youth behavior after it has occurred, but it has been proven that it is more difficult to turn them around once they are fully engaged in criminal behavior. According to the National Institute of Justice Journal: Violence by Young People, “prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment after the fact” (1995). Therefore, more prevention programs have been created within schools to keep children away from drugs and violence. This method has proven to be more effective in keeping teens out of trouble than treatment after the fact.
                There is a long road for reform within the juvenile justice system, programs and treatments that include such large population take a while to adjust to change. We can see a brighter tomorrow for America’s youth with programs such as Positive Youth Development (PYD) and Trauma Informed Intervention (TII). Programs such as PYD focus on building the strengths and assets of juveniles rather than punishment. We see more programs such as TII that are interested in fixing psychological problems within our youth community. If we are interested in a successful juvenile justice system we must focus on Positive Youth Development, Trauma Informed Intervention, detention reduction, humane and rehabilitative juvenile facilities, evidenced based practices, a focus on high risk youth, and strong partnership with the community (New America Media, 2012).
            The communities role in this problem is to provide more adequate prevention and rehabilitation programs for our at risk youth and delinquents as well as partnering up with the federal and state government to create a better plan on allocating funds to these programs. 

Resources:                                  
"Juvenile Crime-Costs and Policy Implications." California Legislative Analyst's Office. Web. 11 Sept. 2012. <http://www.lao.ca.gov/1995/050195_juv>.

Nature, Youth Need Second Chances, and Not Incarceration. "A Roadmap to the Future of Juvenile Justice-New America Media." New America Media. Web. 11 Sept. 2012.    <http://newamericamedia.org/2012/08/a-roadmap-to-the-future-of-juvenile-justice.php>.

"Statistical Briefing Book." Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Web. 10 Sept. 2012. <http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/default.as>.

2 comments:

  1. We should just kill all those f%$@&# in jail, they're costing our nation too much money!!!!

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  2. I agree that once delinquency in juveniles has started it is difficult to reverse. I support the idea that prevention programs must be implemented before juveniles can reach that delinquent behavior. But before applying prevention programs, we must look at the social factors such as family structure, education and economic status. In order to fix a problem we must look at where it begins. The issue of juvenile delinquents has come a long way in U.S history and reform is still needed to address the issue.

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