Juvenile Delinquency: Genetic or Environmental Essay

Juvenile Delinquency: Genetic or Environmental Essay

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Juvenile Delinquency: Genetic or Environmental

“Oh, well, I’ll end up in jail anyway! It’s in my genes!” This was the heartfelt declaration of a 15 year-old teen. Was it inevitable that he follow in his father’s footsteps on the path of delinquent behavior and subsequent brushes with the law? Was juvenile delinquency actually a by-product of genetics or could it be a product of “behavioral sink”- that environmental abyss that absorbs so many teens?


Definition of delinquency

Although arguable on both sides, environment clearly has the lead in determining juvenile behavior. The very definition of juvenile delinquency states: “Delinquency is a major social problem. Delinquents are likely to come from a background of poverty, to belong to a racial or ethnic group that experiences discrimination, and to live in an urban area. One theory is that children from the poorest part of society lack opportunities to develop in socially acceptable ways and turn to delinquency as a substitute. Another theory is that delinquency is learned behavior, acquired by associating with people who have little respect for the law. A third explanation is that juveniles who are caught and labeled delinquent by the authorities are likely to continue to break the law because that label makes it harder for them to be law-abiding.” (Academic American Encyclopedia,1995,Vol 11, p. 478) Nowhere in this definition is the term genetics or heredity addressed. So, are teenagers predestined to become delinquents? Definitely not! Each teen has the same opportunity to succeed. His day-to-day environment defines what he will do with this opportunity.


Impact of Family on Juveniles

A child is a blank slate at birth, eager to absorb and le...


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... Allyn and Bacon

Rosenberg, et al(2002). Juvenile Delinquency: A Sociological Approach. Biological Explanations of Juvenile Delinquency, ( 5th ed, pp. 109)
Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Bynam & Thompson(2002). Juvenile Delinquency: A Sociological Approach. Biological Explanations of Juvenile Delinquency, ( 5th ed, pp. 109)
Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Schauss et al.,(2002). Juvenile Delinquency: A Sociological Approach. Biological Explanations of Juvenile Delinquency, ( 5th ed, pp. 110)
Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Lonsdale & Shamberger,(2002). Juvenile Delinquency: A Sociological Approach. Biological Explanations of Juvenile Delinquency, ( 5th ed, pp. 111)
Boston: Allyn and Bacon

Rabin & McCall,(2002). Juvenile Delinquency: A Sociological Approach. Biological Psychogenic Explanations of Juvenile Delinquency, ( 5th ed, pp. 138)
Boston: Allyn and Bacon

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