According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2019) in 2018, the total number of offenses committed by young offenders was 728, 280. The major crimes committed by young offenders include simple assault (125,030), drug abuse violations (90,670), and disorderly conduct (57, 760). The most significant crime committed by young offenders was violent crimes (46,140). Although the overall crimes committed by the young individuals dropped by 10 percent from the 2017 calendar year to the 2018 fiscal period, these crimes still baffle the relevant authorities and the public. The major question that accompanies the crimes of young offenders is, “what could be the primary motive?” Research on what causes juvenile delinquency would be necessary to answer the above question.
The objective of the Study
The primary objective of this study is to examine the major factors that contribute to juvenile delinquency
The other objectives of the study include:
To analyze whether the criminality factor is cognitive or it originates from the environment
To examine the types of criminal activities undertaken by young offenders
To investigate the risky age group of young offenders
To examine the causal factor of juvenile delinquency using a case study
Scope and Relevance of the Study
This research explores the major causal factors of juvenile delinquency. The study will incorporate the cognitive analysis, developmental stages, and the environment in the analysis of the causal factors of juvenile delinquency. Furthermore, the study covers the major crimes committed by young offenders. The research will give attention to the risky age group of the young offenders found to have committed crimes. Lastly, the study covers an example of an area with juvenile occurrences and their motives in the United States. In recent times, juvenile delinquency has been receiving widespread attention. The primary concentration is the causal factors of the actions by young offenders. The public judge young individuals as being under the care of their parent (s) or guardian. The public also believes that children are eligible for social services, which provide grants to cover their personal needs. Accordingly, engagement in crime for-profit purposes should not occur. The primary area of concern is the violent behavior exhibited by children. Psychologists and sociologists in this scenario attempt to link the behavior of the young offenders and their upbringing. However, more research on the causal factors of criminal behavior is critical. The findings of this research will be significant to the criminal justice system, the governments, the parents, and the community. Juvenile delinquency remains one of the top concerns of the above stakeholders.
The rationale of the Research
Juvenile delinquency is still a prevalent occurrence in the United States and globally. There are several causes of the phenomenon. This study intends to prove that the causal factors of juvenile delinquency are diverse and depend on several factors.
Theoretical Chapter 2
Juvenile delinquency is a rising problem that various theoretical framework have attempted to answer. Most theories focus on the childhood upbringing of the offenders. Several studies indicate that the most crucial period during development is childhood. It is during childhood that individuals begin to formulate ideas about their environment. Besides, researchers concentrate on the environment to provide answers on juvenile delinquency occurrences. The theoretical framework will be significant in the evaluation of the factors contributing to juvenile delinquency.
Case Chapter 3
The applied research methodology in this case is case analysis. A case study involves several components, which helps in ensuring the effectiveness of the case stud as a research methodology. The five components include the research questions; the definition of the study purpose; the unit of the analysis; the connection of the case study with the preposition and the interpretation of the findings.
This case study will focus on the issue that causes delinquency among juvenile offenders in the United States. David Jones (2014) explored the factors that contribute to the trends of juvenile delinquency in the United States. The author identified the relation of juvenile delinquency to factors such as poverty rates, unemployment rates, adult crime rates, and school dropout rates. The United States is one of the global nations, which have high rates of juvenile delinquency. Several factors contribute to this phenomenon. This study is relevant because, despite the changes in the crime rates and other criminality factors, juvenile delinquency continues to be on the rise. For instance, Jones (2014) noted that despite the drop in school dropout rate from 30% in 1990 to between 5% and 10% in 2011, juvenile delinquency rates continue to rise. Moreover, studies within the same period showed that crime rates committed by the adults were declining, while juvenile delinquency was on the rise. Jones (2014) investigated different factors that contribute to the phenomenon.
The study considered diverse methodologies during the collection of data. Some of the methodologies used in the study include qualitative research designs, ethnographic research, phenomenology, narrative research design, and grounded research. The choice of the different methodologies is because of the biases and credibility issues that arise with the collection of data from juvenile offenders. Each of the above methodologies has strengths and weaknesses, which complements well will the research on factors contributing to juvenile delinquency. The qualitative research methodology was the most dominant research approach.
The method of collecting data was the use of secondary sources. Jones (2014) insisted that there are several benefits associated with the use of secondary sources when collecting data. For a start, the use of secondary sources eliminates biases, which are common in the case of the study involving juveniles. The method of collecting data eliminates response bias and non-response bias. Response bias happens during the collecting of data using the interviewing process. Typically, young offenders might answer study questions in a manner, which will affect the credibility of the study. Besides, the risk of non-bias is high especially with the use of methods such as observation during the collection of data. Additionally, the use of secondary sources is reliable. This claim is because the validity checks of secondary sources are easy compared to other methods of collecting data.
The most significant secondary sources for the study were the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the National Center for Education Statistics, and US Census Bureau. The data collection periods were from 2000 to 2010. The above agencies and departments are credible, with this improving the findings.
The finding indicated that the rate of unemployment increases with the increase in the dropout rate. The delinquency rates increase with the failure of the dropouts to get jobs. Moreover, the finding indicated that growth in the poverty rate also increases the rate of delinquency. Income plays a central role in juvenile delinquency. Lack of income increases the chances of young offenders to commit crimes. However, the growth of the delinquency rate does not relate to the school dropout and an increase in the crime rate by adults.
Section 4 Analytical Chapters
The main coverage in analytical chapter answers the questions of the common types of juvenile delinquency, the major ages of juvenile delinquency, the major possible factors contributing to juvenile delinquency, and the evidence-based solutions to juvenile delinquency.
Common Types of Juvenile Delinquencies
Juveniles engage in various forms of crimes. According to Puzzanchera & Hockenberry (2018), the juvenile delinquency cases reported in the United States in 2015 involved simple crimes. Larceny and assault remain the most significant forms of crimes evident with the young offenders. The young age of the suspects increases their need to steal trivial things, which do not have economic power. The facts that the U.S. laws are clear about stealing or having in possession items, which belong to other persons qualify them as crimes. Assault remains dominant for of crime committed by young offenders. These crimes are commuted to the public or as a form of bullying in schools. Assault mostly results in bodily injuries and in some instances it might result in death. The popularity of assault is because its execution is simple, and sometimes they do not require group assistance. The most common weapons of assault used by young offenders include baseball clubs, knives, and other blunt objects. The common victims of assault are persons of younger age or the elderly. Young offender targets the vulnerable groups to commit the act of assault. Nonetheless, most of the assault cases filed against the juveniles are simple occurrences such as bullying.
The juvenile has also been recording instances of violent crimes. Lochner (2020) study results indicated an increase in the instances of violent crimes among juveniles. Some of the serious crimes committed by juveniles include homicide, rape, and robbery. In most instances, the body structure and the intention of juvenile prevent them from carrying out some forms of crimes. Nonetheless, contemporary issues have been contributing to juveniles carrying out heinous acts. The report by Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (2019) that in 2018, juveniles committed 46,140 serious crimes are indications that the young offenders are capable of carrying out acts, which warrant their incarceration.
The Major Ages of Juvenile Delinquency
Juveniles are young offenders, who are below the age of 18 years, but the risk of crime begins at the age of 7 years. Shaikh (2020) noted that understanding begins at the ages of 7 years and 12 years. The above findings explain why a teenage year represents a tricky period when juvenile delinquency could occur. In most cases, teenagers become rebellious, in addition to challenging the existing rules and regulations. It is because of their quest to challenge the system that they end up committing crimes. The likely hood of children below the ages of 7 years, committing a crime is low but it could still happen. Nevertheless, the developmental age of 7 years and above presents a perfect basis for an individual to commit a crime.
Possible factors Contributing to Juvenile Delinquency
Several factors contribute to juvenile delinquency, with a lack of education being one of these elements. According to Lochner (2020), there is a negative correlation between juvenile delinquency and attainment of education. Dropping out of school presents a young offender with more time to think about committing a crime. School keeps the young people busy, in the process preventing them from engaging in crimes because of boredom. Moreover, school administrations have the capability of noticing unbecoming behavior among the juveniles and then address them. Dropping out of school eliminates the instances, where a young person thinks about committing a crime. Lack of education means a bleak future, with most dropouts choosing crimes to sustain themselves.
The other causal factor of juvenile delinquency is peer pressure. This is an example of the impact of the environment on the behavior of a child. Esiri (2016) concluded that peer pressure exists in the delinquent subculture, with this explaining the criminal behavior. Most juveniles engage in crimes because of peer pressure. In most cases, the culture of the group the young offender associates with contributing to their behavior. In case the group associate criminal activities as fulfilling, the chances of group members engaging in crimes are high. Peer pressure forces young offenders to act like their peers. As a result, they acquire criminal habits from the group.
Besides, socio-economic factors are a major contributor to juvenile delinquency. The social environment once again proves to be the primary contributor to the criminal behaviors of juveniles. Beardslee et al. (2019) noted that childhood socioeconomic disadvantage contributes to the greater affiliation of crimes in the future. In most cases, the disadvantages of socio-economic areas mean that a child has to find a way to survive. One of these ways is a crime. Criminal activities provide the exit avenue, which children capitalize on. Typically, petty offenses such as stealing are a necessity in socio-economic disadvantaged areas. The fact that most of their peers and adults engage in crimes for survival, children engage in crime to emulate their heroes.
Growing in dysfunctional families also increases criminal behaviors among juveniles. The study by Delcea et al. (2019) showed that one of the characteristics of the juvenile offender is “a boy aged 15-16, who comes from a family with a precarious, disorganized financial situation, with an inappropriate family climate, in which the minor no longer under the control of his parents; with poor school preparation (flourishing failures and dropouts); with pathological background and psychological deficiencies” (pp. 367-369). The above explanation shows that families play a critical role in the criminal behavior of a person.
Substance abuse has a direct contribution to the instances of juvenile delinquency. Belenko et al. (2017) found out that over 70% of arrested juveniles were found to have instances of substance abuse, with alcohol use contributing to delinquency among males. Substance abuse impairs thinking, with the effect being the strong urge to commit a crime.
The solution to Juvenile Delinquency
Haggard (2016) insisted that the solution to juvenile delinquency is dealing with drug abuse. The prevalence of drug abuse is one of the contributor factors to criminal behaviors among young individuals. Limiting the sale of drugs such as alcohol and opioids would help minimize crimes by young persons.
Mwangangi (2019) suggested that the restructuring of the juvenile justice systems from a solutions perspective would help address the problem. Practices such as incarceration and community service have been found to increase the rebellious nature of juvenile offenders. Using an approach of offering solutions would help in re-admitting the young offenders back to society without terms. As a result, the young offenders might find their actions to be against society and therefore seek forgiveness. One of the solutions is reconciliation with the victims.
Chapter 6 Discussion
Juvenile delinquency is one of the problems that affect the United States. The trend has been experiencing growth, despite decreases in certain indicators. The primary question that accompanies juvenile delinquency are the factors contributing to this phenomenon below are some of the concrete factors contributing to juvenile delinquency.
Factors contributing to Juvenile Delinquency
Socio-economic factors remain the most significant issue that contributes to juvenile delinquency rates. Children that are either born in poverty or experiencing poverty lack basic amenities. This group of offenders is usually aware of their environment. Media plays a significant role in showing both affluent and poverty areas. As a result, children make a decision on which part they would love to end up in. Since their situations prevent the quick transition of the good life, crime promises this life. Juveniles in this case commit crime as a necessity rather than peer pressure.
Children who drop out of school fail to get employment, with this increasing juvenile delinquency. Consequently, they lack any income generating sources, which befits their experience. These children become idle because of a lack of engaging activities such as going to school, in the end, they become criminals. Young offenders judge that lack of employment opportunities would continue to their adulthood. For this reason, they choose the life of crime to supplement their desire.
Peer pressure also emerges as a significant factor that contributes to juvenile delinquency. Most young offenders derive this need to commit crime from peers. The age group plays the role of pushing others to commit a crime. Typically, a young person commits crimes as a way of belonging to the same group.
The other factor contributing to juvenile delinquency is dysfunctional families. Children born and living in these families lack moral support during their upbringing. Consequently, their chances of committing a crime are high. Moral support is crucial during the growth stage of the child. The support helps prevent the occurrences of criminal activities.
The other contributing factor to juvenile delinquency is substance abuse. Juveniles commit crimes to do so under the influence of drugs. Alcohol is one of the drugs that young individuals abuse when engaging in criminal acts.
Chapter 6 Recommendation/Conclusion
Juvenile delinquency is a problem that is affecting society. Handling the problem will be crucial to the future generation of America and the rest of the world. However, dealing with the problem will demand the determination of the root cause of the problem. Several solutions should be applied to deal with the issue. The first solution to the problem is the regularization of drugs. Most juveniles commit their crime under the influence of drugs. Controlling drug abuse will help address the issue of juvenile delinquency. Additionally, there is the need to restructure the juvenile justice system, to deal with providing solutions more than punishing the suspects. Offering solutions to the problem will help protect juveniles from committing more crimes. Juvenile delinquency continues to affect the U.S. and global economies. Growth in the population of this age group and other problems is increasing the chances of juvenile delinquency. Understanding the root causes of the problem is on the step of solving this menace affecting the economy. Dealing with issues such as poverty, peer pressure, and dysfunctional families help in addressing the problem of juvenile delinquency.
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