An article by Barnet et. al (2015), “Incarcerated Youths’ Perspectives on Protective Factors and Risk Factors for Juvenile Offending: A Qualitative Analysis”, compiled interviews from several adolescents in the juvenile justice system to assess their perceptions on the factors that led them to delinquency. As a result, the researchers were able to identify four environmental arenas that contribute either a positive or negative influence on an adolescent as well as three common internal needs that may shape an adolescent’s behavior. A novel by Wes Moore titled The Other Wes Moore (CITE) supports this research through the depictions of two individuals named Wes Moore growing up in the Baltimore area —one who will go on to be a Rhode’s scholar and military officer and one who will serve his life in prison on first degree murder charges.
The first arena discussed by Barnet et. al (2015) is the home. The adolescents interviewed identified many risk factors associated with the home including a lack of structure, lack of family cohesiveness, absent parents, gang affiliated members, and financial difficulties. This coincides with risk factors identified in lecture in that children in poverty are often subjected to family turmoil, trauma, chaotic households, and less responsive/more authoritarian parents (CITE SCH). Potential protective factors in the home could include parents that emphasize a future orientated perspective, financial support, and a present caregiver.
The second arena discussed by Barnet et. al (2015), school, also has associated risk factors. The interviewed adolescents expressed that schools can be a breeding ground for gang activity and bullying which can lead adolescents to join gangs, carry weapons, or avoid school....
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...trast, the author mentions that some of his friends dropped out to sell crack cocaine, but it seems as though he was only exposed to tagging. However, it is important to note that the author had the added benefit of going to a private school in an affluent area, which might have helped him see a way out (CITE).
Finally, both of the boys were subjected to social pressures but in differing ways. The other Wes experienced pressures to be macho and tough in order to survive in the drug trade, as well as the added pressure of feeling as though he had to provide for himself, and later his family, financially. The author, by contrast, was pressured to succeed in school by his mother, which may have helped him counteract the pressures of his neighborhood.
The Other Wes Moore (CITE) also provides support for the internal cues mentioned in the Barnet et. al (2015) article.
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