The Challenges Of Juvenile Delinquency

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Juvenile delinquency is a serious problem affecting offenders, communities, and all of society physically, emotionally, and economically. Each year, millions of juveniles are arrested for delinquency and even more participate or are at risk of participating in acts of delinquency. Delinquents face numerous challenges including risk for incarceration, school drop-out, drug use and an increase in the likelihood of adult criminality (Sherman et al., 1998). Numerous programs attempt to prevent delinquency and rehabilitate delinquents, however most fail to produce significant results. The failure of these programs result from ineffective program models focusing on removing juveniles from their families and communities or scaring them into obedience;…show more content…
Over the next ten years, numerous programs were enacted to reduce delinquency including D.A.R.E, Zero-Tolerance, Scared Straight, military-style correctional boot camps, and traditional detention centers (Sherman et al., 1998; Howell, 2003). These programs insignificantly effected delinquency due to inadequate methods unable to address the overall problem. Many of these programs focus on scaring youth into obedience or separating them emotionally and physically from their families and communities through detention, negatively impacting rehabilitation (Holman and Ziedenberg, 2011). Some delinquency prevention programs, rather than decrease crime, increase the likelihood of future crime; these ineffective programs cost taxpayers millions, wasting money on programs failing to address the underlying issues prompting juvenile delinquency and allowing unchanged youth to reoffend. The poor outcomes and high cost of these programs have called into question their…show more content…
Delinquency risk-factors include hyperactivity, low academic performance, peer delinquency, early bulling or aggressive behavior, large family size, low family income, poor parent child communication, poor parental supervision, parental disharmony, broken family, child abuse or neglect, and harsh or inconsistent discipline from parents (Brame, et al., 2011; Farrington, 2002). A study conducted by Farrington, et al (2002), studied ten variables and found that three variables had significant correlations to delinquency: poor parental supervision, low parental reinforcement, and youth’s low involvement in family activities. This study also found that though peer delinquency has a high association, it was not a cause of delinquency (Farrington, et al. 2002). Most of these risk-factors are within juvenile’s psychosocial systems, which includes family, peers, and neighbors (Sexton and Alexander, 2000). Many delinquency programs detain youth away from these psychosocial systems, separating them from the risk-factors and from their support system. Detaining adolescents unintentionally escalates the situation, making the issues more difficult to resolve because the root cause is embedded within their psychosocial system (Sexton and Alexander, 2000). The only way to resolve factors leading juveniles to delinquency is through treatment of the root cause within the family and

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